Wednesday, 18 July 2012

I, Nerd

     I've done a lot of nerding while in Australia. Through means I can't exactly track we started having weekly nerd nights where the same group of people; Kevin, myself, Pat, Kaz and Jay (give or take, all locals) get together at each other's houses, drink wine, eat cheese and play Magic. After thoroughly wiping the floor with everyone else with my Black/White deck, I began to play with other decks to try and get an understanding of the kinds of other things/themes that I like. I can't wait to start figuring out how to build my own decks and to continue getting a better understanding of the kind of player I am.

Pat looking sexy.

Me looking manic.

Ollie (who was a one off) and Kevin.

     I also joined in on a few weeks of Vampires: The Masquerade with a large group of people, mostly from MUST, so many of whom I would have loved to have gotten to know better in my short time with them. So many of them were so nice. One of particular note is a guy named Zorro (for real) who gave me a going away possum as that was my characters fight form. We had only known each other for a short period of time but he warmed my heart with that simple but awesome gesture. 

     Both of these events, which I was able to become part of because of The Amazing Kevin Turner, have helped me understand just how much I want (and value having) this kind of thing and these kinds of people in my life. I have never rejected being a nerd -

     I should clarify here, in case you hadn't already figured it out, I define a 'nerd' who is someone who is (unironically) enthusiastic and almost acedemic about fictional things. Games, books, movies. Entertainment things, you see. I would place myself, and most of my friends, into this category. A 'geek' is someone who is extremely well read and perhaps animated about factual things. Maths, science and other such stuff that will get you a real job and thick rimmed glasses taped together in the middle. I would place Josh, who can answer any and every science question I can come up with ("What causes turbulence?" "Why do I yawn all the time on planes?" "Does it count if you're just by yourself in the airplane bathroom?"), in this catagory. He on the other hand would swap those around, and  thinks he himself a nerd and that I am a geek. The definitions are the same the words are just constantly up for debate as to which one represents which. My argument for the way I defined things was - Geek Squad. Its not called the Nerd Bunch, because if it was instead of showing up to your house to fix you computer, they would show up with a cold pizza and a stack of books and play DnD in your basement, and that really wouldn't be what you were hoping for (or maybe?).

      I should correct something, however, in my experience nerds really eat well! I had fancy wine a cheese weekly with Nerd Night, all the food was communal at every Vampires Elysuim and the few times (the number of which I really hope increases once I get back) I've been to Hassendaig the pot luck they assemble has always been a meadly of awesome foods.
Now, where was I...

- I have never rejected being a nerd, and perhaps I played it up a little because I just wanted to be one so badly. Nerds are the cool kids now to me. I want them to pick me to be on their team, forget baseball. Being accepted as a true nerd is a whole hell of a lot harder than being accepted as one of the 'in crowd'. To get 'in' all you have to do is dress a certain way (for an example of how you need to dress just look at every single "in" person and note they all look alike) say certain things (or better, don't say anything other than the designated, acceptable, limited vocabulary) and don't stir the pot at all, just drink and drink and sleep with whomever will have you and you'll be popular! Or American... my viewpoints on this may be skewed.

      To be a nerd however you have to know your stuff! Like seriously! You also can't just know one thing inside and out you need to know several! You're not a nerd enough if you can recite all of Doctor Who backwards you also have to:  

know what '4d6' means (and that is REALLY basic), 
replace at least one real swearword with "fracking" or "shiney" or "gorammit" and use it regularly. 
Own at least one t-shirt with something so esoteric about the first episode of Firefly that even those who did watch the series have some difficulty identifying where it's from.
have at least 3 web comics bookmarked and viewed regularly
have serveral characters waiting in your head to be rolled for the next tabletop campaign that comes up (or maybe they are already rolled)

      And this is just what you will need if you want to walk in the room and not have the rest of the people smell fear in your empty understanding of who Gwen Stacy was.

     Here is the thing though, I have never met a mean group of nerds. We are so used to being the ones excluded its rare you will ever find those who want to exclude someone just because they are different. In fact they get very enthused to introduce someone new who they can share their passion with. Admittedly you will often find groups who have been table topping for years together or are in the middle of a campaign and can't let you in right then but you'll be sure they will help get you excited about building a character when the time comes around.

In short, nerds are awesome, I love being one (though I know I am but a babe), Australia is awesome and I love being a nerd here, particularly with the amazing people I get to do that with.

Also, before I left Kevin and Pat got me a family portrait of our characters. It makes me super happy. 

There's no place like...

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Mail Time: Final Edition

     What I anticipate will be my last postcard arrived the other day from Zac. It's perfect because it's from Sandbanks, one of the many places I will be running to go to when I can back to Canada. It's the perfect summer spot in my area and it will make me so happy to spend some more time there.

      Thank you for all those who sent me mail. As you know, it always made me feel wonderful. 

     There's no place like...

Tuesday June 19th - Thursday June 21st: Sheppardton and Mooroopna

      So here we are again in Betsy's front seat preventing myself from asking Josh what he calls the Big Ultimatum Questions - the ones I ask when I get bored like "What is your favourite animal (A: Kookaburra) / Colour (A: I don't have one) / Food (A: Why do you ask me all these questions?!)?" We're driving home from Shep in the rain and hoping to get back in time so I can meet Rhys in town to go to The Pancake Parlour - a mystical place where they only serve pancakes (okay not exclusively but pretty darn close) but which I never been too and I'm very excited.


     When we got up to Mooroopna we beat his parents home and started watching The Castle, we didn't end up finishing it until the last night but it is a GREAT Australian film. So many very Australian things and people and I highly recommend it though it might only make the most sense to locals and those who've spent a good time here. Anne (Josh's Mum) made a delicious Chicken Parma something I'm not sure I've had while down here yet but it was divine. They are a big this in Oz and I'm sure we have them in Canada but they are really quality and I'm going to make them loads when I get home. 

     Afterwards Josh's friends Grimey and Jim came over. I don't know if you know this but Josh is 19. I've always been good (although I will still joke) at not caring about peoples age and enjoying their company because of how old they act and how well we get on, not because of how close they were born to me. In fact of the people I am closest with very few were born within a couple years of me. So I've always enjoyed my time with Josh without thinking about the fact that he's younger then my younger brother because his maturity and the fun we have together transcends that. This was made VERY clear by hanging out with his 19 yr old friends. Holy crap. They were lovely but the maturity and life skills of someone I would want to spend an expended length of time with was absent. This is not something that is intended to imply any insult or negative implications towards either of them, rather to suggest that I have learned more clearly my feelings on why I can hang out with some 18-19 yrs olds and not care about the age bracket but that it its case by case specific and that some are not my cup of tea. However after the first sentence I spoke one of them exclaimed "HOLY CRAP THATS A SWEET ACCENT!" so he got some extra points.

     We drank on the patio (why, I do not know because it was cold) and drank out of plastic martini glasses (we were drinking whiskey/rum and coke so that was another wtf) which Josh daintally sipped on as if it were a cosmo. After I finished mine I snatched it out of his hand and downed it in seconds. He then resigned to getting us some real glasses and going inside. We hung out chatting for a while and then turned Pirates of the Carribean 2 into a drinking game. It's not the perfect solo movie for that but if you watched all 4 together it would be pretty awesome and you'd get fairly far gone by the time Penelope Cruise shows up. I'd been up late the night before nerding so I turned in before the boys left with a belly full of chips and discount Capt Morgan because Canadian accents get Liquor Land Stock boys to break the rules for you. 

Wednesday - 

     The morning was spent making breakfast and a cake for Josh's parents to thank them for having me. Then we went into town to meet a bunch of different people, climb a tower and pick up the Grimey and Jim to go Geocaching. I can't tell you what that is if you don't already know, other than its awesome. We found 3 caches by some solid owners as well as some giant freaky spiders and a lizard. No pictures sadly, but good fun.

        Josh's parents took us out for dinner that night. It was really lovely - I had 3 cheese ravioli in a napoli (I still don't quite know what it is) sauce with katamola olives, spring (green) onions and something else but I forget. Regardless, it was great and I'm going to try to make it when I get back. Then we went home, cut into my chocolate strawberry cake (with icing that Anne thought I made, sadly no) and finished The Castle which ended with me in tears thinking about how I'll be gone from all this in 2 weeks.

Thursday -

     I slept in late, wolfed down tea and breakfast, packed up, bought a new headlight for Betsy, played at Kidtown - in the rain, I don't care, it's still amazing. I wish I could spend days there when it was better weather and with a bunch of people to play hugtiggie with (Ros and Guil cast? Trip to Shep? :D)

      Then we got some Mr D's for Rhian and Kirsten and headed out. And here we are.

       I want to go home but I don't want to leave. It's not fair. Let me have everything.

       There's no place like...  

Phillip Island Addendum feat Rob Kelly

      After posting about my trip to Phillip Island my Australian Idol Prof/Tut Leader (who I have on Facebook volunteered to explain the Fairy/Little Penguin debate. He explains as follows: "The Latin name for the bird is "Eudyptula Minor" which literally translates into "Little Penguin" which is what they've always been called. It was only some genious somewhere along the line that nicknamed them "Fairy Penguins". I don't remember when exactly but the good people at The Penguin Parade desided to revert back to the real name." In addition in "an amazing show of geeky-ness" Rob also identified the hybrid cows as: "highland cattle, their from Scotland. They were the first type of cattle grazed in this area, the ones you find on Churchill Island are aledgedly decendents of the original herd." But he is sceptical. 

       There's no place like...