Friday, October 29, 2010

Why, hello there, Kevin...

Among classic stories that have gained in stature over time, the George Takei/Kevin tale needs no introduction.

What's that? It does? Fine. Let me introduce it.

The year was 2004. A few young geeks like us go down to Toronto for their annual FanExpo nerd convention. Imagine a huge convention center, full of toys, comics, t-shirts, games, dvds, and all manner of other geeky things you can imagine. Tens of thousands of people shuffling about, just itching to drop cash on useless collectibles, and get autographs and photos of scifi actors.

The crowd was thick around George Takei's table. We showed up just as he ended his autograph session. He stood and made his way through the crowd when he spotted a fresh faced Asian boy - our very own Kevin - and said "Hello there" in his inimitable voice. We were thrilled! At the time this all seemed totally innocuous...

...and then 1 year later, he came out of the closet. Suddenly, Takei's comment to Kevin had disturbing (but not unwelcome? :P) undertones. Was Takei hitting on Kevin but nobody knew it?

Over time, this story, like most good stories, became embellished. It went from, "Hello there" to "Why, hello there, Kevin" (he somehow gained knowledge of Kevin's name - more on this later), to finally "Why, hello there, Kevin - I'm staying in room 215 of the adjacent hotel". We all had a good laugh.

Fast forward to last night's Halloween episode of NBC's excellent comedy, "Community". For some reason, George Takei is bookending the episode with a voice-over. Why? Because he's awesome. But at the end of the episode, with no context at all, Takei says the following:

"I'm George Takei, and if your name is Kevin, here's a little freebie for your cell phone:
'Hi, Kevin can't come to the phone, he's on a spaceship with me, George Takei. Please leave a message.'
You're welcome, Kevins."

I think what happened here is obvious. Takei couldn't get Kevin out of his head and, from that day forth, spent insane manpower and money tracking him down, but all he could find was a first name: Kevin. So when given this opportunity, he cleverly slipped in a message on a nationally broadcast sitcom, in hopes that the true Kevin, our Kevin, would hear it and come a-callin'.

Kevin, the universe wants you and Takei together!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A little more judicious with the comments, please

I'm sure I'm not alone in noticing this phenomenon on Facebook. Have you ever noticed that when girls post a shot of themselves, there's an automatic string of comments from her female friends saying "you're beautiful" or "ur so hawt" and things like that? The pics are usually them in a dress and they're usually alone, in some kind of phony glamour shot, often fishing for compliments, I feel. Maybe not. I don't know.

What I do know is that these comments are often not justified. It's like these girls' girlfriends feel it's their duty to automatically post compliments about how gorgeous their friend is when clearly they're not.

Ladies, at the risk of sounding like a jerk (too late?), if you only have girls telling you you're good-looking, it could go either way.

I'm just saying when your girlfriends tell you how great you look, there's a chance they're lying to you.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

My ears, my precious ears...

The other day, I heard something on the radio that was described as a song. It wasn't described as such by me, but the mere fact that it was playing on the radio, a medium designed to perpetrate songs, must mean this sonic nightmare can only be categorized as such.

A few seconds in, I recognized it as a new Black Eyed Peas single called "Imma Be". How did I know that's the title? Well, only because they repeat that phrase about ohhhh 105 times!

Has anyone heard this formless, meandering mess? It's ridiculous. At first, I was upset that a whole load of n'importe quoi could make it to the airwaves. If it had been me who came up with this song, it would be ridiculous. But no, if Will.I.Am poops out this drivel, it's a masterpiece.

But then it hit me. The Black Eyed Peas are in on the joke. They are indeed capable of catchy hooks so this song strikes me as purposefully uncatchy, crafted to be terrible just to see how far they can push the envelope before someone calls them out on their BS.

I have a vision of Will.I.Am, Fergie, and the other two nameless goobers who collect paycheques sitting around a room and just wondering aloud:
"What if we just say 'I'm going to be', followed by a load of nonsense of things we will be doing?"
"I like it but let's shorten that down to 'Imma bee', then use an image of a bee on the single's cover."
"Brilliant," they all say in unison, as they light cigars with $100 bills and pour Dom Perignon into diamond-studded gold chalices.

It's as if this new song is a parody of their other inane fare, like "My Humps". Hey, Peas, I get it. You're mocking yourselves and us, while at the same time trying to see if your joke of a song can pass as legit. Well, I refuse to let you have your cake and eat it too.

Self-parody in what appears to be an earnest release must be some form of avant-garde, meta-music but it still doesn't change the fact that much like the Dwarves of Moria digging too deeply, you've unwittingly unleashed an unspeakable horror upon an unsuspecting public. For shame...

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I believe it's jogging or yogging, it might be a soft J

Now that the weather has improved, I've recently taken up jogging outside. On days when I don't go to the gym or play soccer, I take a nice run around the neighbourhood - and in doing so, I've unwittingly joined a cult.

Have you ever noticed how bus drivers will always wave at each other when they pass by each other? Well, the same goes for joggers, apparently. It's like I've joined the Priory of Sion and had no clue. What bizarre fraternity have I stumbled into?

It goes something like this: I'm jogging down the street when another jogger comes the opposite way. He'll look at me and nod knowingly. Unwilling to let it slide, I nod back pretending I'm in the loop. I suppose I am in the loop now. Either that or I've consented to many untoward things with strangers.

Also of note: the nodding courtesy does not extend to bicyclists. Maybe there's a war between joggers and bikers of which I'm not aware but I looked quite the fool nodding to a dude on a bike the other day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date!

Has this happened to you?
You make an appointment to meet someone and he's late. Upon arrival, he'll often give you a line like, "It's not my fault, I'm on (insert ethnicity here) time."

Have you noticed how every group claims tardiness as their own, as if it's some kind of proud badge to wear?

"I'm on black time."
"I'm on brown time."
"Chinese people are always late for everything."

Etc etc, I've heard them all and they're all bogus.

You want to know the truth? EVERYone is always late for EVERYthing. It has nothing to do with your background. It's human nature of some kind. Speaking as an oft-late person myself, missing appointments has to do with procrastination, lethargy and the (lack of) availability of correctly set clocks.

Anybody can be on time for anything, provided you try. But seeing as how not trying is easier than trying, I'm afraid tardiness will continue to be a pandemic for races the world over.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Asia is a BIG continent

Can someone tell me when people of Eastern Asian ancestry got a monopoly over the word Asian?

Back in the day, people would call others from China, Japan etc "Oriental" but now that word has fallen out of favour, some even deem it offensive. Oriental comes from the Latin word meaning East. So in English speaking countries, Oriental is simply describing people who come from parts of the world towards the East. What's so offensive about that? People routinely call Europe/America "the West" and nobody complains. Heck, Australia comes from the Latin word meaning "South" and they named their country that.

In fact, "Oriental" is just as imprecise as "Asian". Both need specification. Anywhere East of Europe/America is a huge expanse full of dozens of different peoples, just as calling someone "Asian" can refer to anyone from Iran to Japan.

Just to add further to the imprecise nature of using "Asian" to mean a very specific group of Asians, did you know that in the UK, "Asian" is typically used to refer to people from India and thereabouts? If you as an American tell an Englishman to meet you at the Asian restaurant down the street, you'll both find yourselves at different places.

All this to say, "East Asian" is the term that should be used for those who call themselves "Asian" in America. Using "Asian" alone is offensive to the billions in Asia who are not from the Eastern part of that continent.

The purpose of language is to convey meaning as precisely as possible. Appropriating a continent's denonym to refer to a subset of its inhabitants is purposefully muddying the issue.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Long and Tall of It

Alright, tall people. I don't like you and you don't like me. At least I assume you don't. I can't be sure.

I have a natural distrust of people much taller than me. Who knows what secrets they're hiding atop their heads? Anyway, I was reminded why I dislike the tall at a recent concert where I had a nice place staked out on the floor. At least I thought it was a nice place. That's when these giant men showed up and camped right in front of me. They were like a foot taller than me and just planted themselves there. I was not pleased.

Look, tall people. You should have the presence of mind to know you're huge. Concerts should be like class photos in elementary. The tall people should be at the back and then each subsequent row going forward gets incrementally shorter until the shortest are sitting cross-legged at the front. At least I'll be able to watch the show properly. And depending on who shows up, I might be sitting right in front of the stage too.

Friday, January 29, 2010

My favourite movies of 2009

The end of a year inevitably leads to one thing that everyone loves. No, not resolutions. Year-end lists! So I'm throwing my hat into the ring with the five movies I most enjoyed in 2009. Bear in mind that these aren't in any particular order.

Star Trek.
How can I not include Star Trek on my list? As a huge Trek nerd, this movie certainly lived up to my lofty expectations for it. JJ Abrams had a difficult task ahead of him, namely how to start fresh while not negating all that's come before. The answer, in typical Trek fashion: alternate reality. Exciting, visually stunning and genuinely funny, this new movie is just so fun you don't care about the inconsistencies or coincidences.

Inglourious Basterds.
I think the last line of the movie pretty much sums it up: "I think this might just be my masterpiece". And I think it definitely is. This is possibly Quentin's best movie, certainly his best-told one. Each scene/vignette is expertly crafted.

A small scifi movie that nobody saw, Moon is pretty much a one-man showcase for the generally underused Sam Rockwell. He plays a guy running a mining facility on the moon who suddenly meets someone very familiar up there. It's claustrophobic, short and really interesting. Those looking for explosions and whiz-bang effects should look elsewhere. This movie is story first.

A guilty pleasure, Zombieland combined two things that should be in more movies: zombies and Bill Murray. Horror/comedy is a tricky stunt to pull off but Zombieland is really hilarious and Jesse Eisenberg does a passable Michael Cera impression to get the job done.

While technically released in Europe in 2008, it only came here in 2009 so I'm including it, dammit. This might be the movie I enjoyed most this year. Liam Neeson plays what boils down to a Jack Bauer/James Bond/Jason Bourne hybrid, taking out rooms full of thugs with superior skill and training, in his quest to get his kidnapped daughter back. I can watch this movie over and over again and still not get tired of it. Qui-Gon for the win.

So that's my list. Granted, there are a bunch of allegedly good movies that I didn't get around to seeing yet (Up, Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Hurt Locker) so I'm only going on what I have seen.

And yes, I purposefully left out Avatar. It was really good but I didn't enjoy it more than the movies I named above.