Monday, April 28, 2014

The White & Nerdy Exam

"Weird Al" Yankovic has long been a creative hero of mine. His version of Chamillionaire's "Ridin'", entitled "White n' Nerdy", is one of his more modern genius parodies. After listening to it again, and all the wonderful geek culture references contained therein, I began to wonder how "white & nerdy" I was—in a more empirical sense. So, I give you the following self-exam.

Below are the reprinted lyrics to "Weird Al"'s parody. Simply ask yourself how much the bolded parts apply to you. If you are now or have ever been guilty of what's stated in bold, you award yourself a point (+1). You may award yourself less than a point (0, +0.1, +0.25, +0.5, or +0.75) depending on how much you estimate the stated applies to you. [I've provided bracketed comments, like this one, after each to better guide how one might consider applying what's stated.] My results are below.

[The lyrics:]
They see me mowin'
My front lawn
[I have been seen mowing my lawn before, so that's +1]
I know they're all thinking
I'm so white n' nerdy

Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
Can't you see I'm white n' nerdy
Look at me I'm white n' nerdy!
I wanna roll with
The gangsters
But so far they all think
I'm too white n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
I'm just too white n' nerdy
Really, really white n' nerdy

First in my class here at M.I.T.
[I was not first in my class in college, so nothing there, but I was 4th in high school, +0.25]
Got skills, I'm a champion at D&D
[That's a big fat +1 for me]
MC Escher that's my favorite MC
[My favorite MC is probably Hammer, so no]
Keep your 40
I'll just have an Earl Grey tea
[I'd prefer tea to alcohol probably 5 times out of 10, so that's +0.5]
My rims never spin to the contrary
[True, +0]
You'll find they're quite stationary
All of my action figures are cherry
[No, but I do still have a couple, +0.1]
Steven Hawking's in my library
My MySpace page is all totally pimped out
[No on MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter, so that's probably like a –1 for me]
I got people begging for my top 8 spaces
Yo, I know pi to a thousand places
[Let's see … 3.1412? +0.003]
Ain't got no grills but I still wear braces
I order all of my sandwiches with mayonnaise
[Not all of them, but I do prefer it nowadays, +0.5]
I'm a whiz at minesweeper I can play for days
[Never much cared for it, but I know what it is and have at least played it before, +0.1]
Once you see my sweet moves you're gonna stay amazed
My fingers movin' so fast I'll set the place ablaze
There's no killer app I haven't run
[There're certainly various apps out there I know nothing about, but I'm more "cutting edge" than my parents, +0.25]
At Pascal, well, I'm number 1
[Had to look this one up, so that's a zero]
Do vector calculus just for fun
[Hell no!]
I ain't got a gat but I got a soldering gun
"Happy Days" is my favorite theme song
[Not even close]
I can sure kick your butt in a game of ping pong
[Hypothetical; I have enjoyed playing before though, +0.25]
I'll ace any trivia quiz you bring on
[Again hypothetical; but I'd be game, +0.5]
I'm fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon
[Thankfully, no]
(Here's the part I sing on)

They see me roll on, my Segway
[Never ridden a Segway in public]
I know in my heart they think I'm white n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
Can't you see I'm white n' nerdy
Look at me I'm white n' nerdy
I'd like to roll with
The gangsters
Although it's apparent I'm too white n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
I'm just too white n' nerdy
How'd I get so white n' nerdy?

I've been browsing, inspectin'
X-men comics you know I collect 'em
[X-Men, no; Batman, yes! +0.75]
The pens in my pocket
I must protect 'em
[No pocket protector here]
My ergonomic keyboard never leaves me bored
[Never had one, but I do use a comfy mouse pad, +0.25]
Shopping online for deals on some writable media
[Never online, but I have shopped for CD-Rs and DVD-Rs before, +0.5]
I edit Wikipedia
[No, but I've considered it, +0.1]
I memorized "Holy Grail" really well
I can recite it right now and have you ROTFLOL
[A few lines maybe, sure, +0.25]
I got a business doing websites
[Not this guy]
When my friends need some code who do they call?
I do HTML for them all
[Not in years, and it was only ever for me, +0.1]
Even made a homepage for my dog!
[…yes, yes I did, +1]
Yo, got myself a fanny pack
[Not any more? +0.25]
They were havin' a sale down at the GAP
Spend my nights with a roll of bubble wrap
POP POP! Hope no one sees me gettin' freaky!
[I do like popping them, but not THAT much, +0.25]
I'm nerdy in the extreme and whiter than sour cream
[Not that pale]
I was in AV club and Glee club and even the chess team!
[No, but I was in Academic Decathlon: we did play chess, +0.25]
Only question I ever thought was hard
Was do I like Kirk or do I like Picard?
[More of a Star Wars guy]
Spend every weekend at the renaissance fair
[No, but I did go once two years in row, +0.5]
Got my name on my underwear!
[Pssh, no]

They see me strollin'
They laughin'
And rollin' their eyes 'cause I'm so white n' nerdy
Just because I'm white n' nerdy
Just because I'm white n' nerdy
All because I'm white n' nerdy
Holy cow I'm white n' nerdy
I wanna bowl with
[Do I enjoy bowling? +0.75]
The gangsters
But, oh well, it's obvious I'm white n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
I'm just too white n' nerdy
Look at me I'm white n' nerdy!

[And I'll give myself another +1 for creating this exam :p]

There are 39 bolded statements. So, by adding it all up, my total of 9.403/39 = 0.241 or 24%. That makes me a quarter Mexican, a quarter Scots-Irish, parts German and Cherokee, and about a quarter White and Nerdy—good to know! How about you?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Random Thought of the Day: Food-based Batman Villain Names

What if each member of Batman's Rogues Gallery were named after all things dietary…?

The Noodler. "Noodle me this!"

Mr. Fries. "Always served well below room temperature."

The Juicer. "You'll be splitting at the seams once I've peeled you open!"

Celery Kale, the Fatwoman. "Despite my namesake, I like to live large."

The Pumpkin. "My blue blooded bearing is veritably carved on my face."

Grain. "I must THRESH YOOU!"

Fresh au Jus. "Join the League of Asparagus, dip yourself in my waters."

The Ham Platter. "Choices, choices, oh the choices! Maybe I'll take one of each and wear them on my head, how's that?"

Smeltroe. "Fear not, you'll soon be eating of the fishes!"

Pizzaface. "The cure for my adult acne turned me into a monster and makes me hate the world."

Raisin Icee. "It'll catch on! Just you wait and see."

Cornedbeef Steak. "It's the heart of any good meal. Yess, the heart!"

And, of course, the heroes:

Bratman and Squab. "The Dynamic Duo (of sausage and cooked pigeon)!"

Can you name all the villains above, or think of any other good ones? Comment below.


Wanna know what this stands for? Click here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Storytelling Sphere of History

It's incredible to me the way that history is formed.

The other day, I was listening to an NPR story entitled, "Japanese Baseball Began On My Family's Farm In Maine." It's about a family from that far-flung place (Maine, not Japan) and their visit to Japan at the formal invitation of some officious Japanese gentleman to come to that distant land (Japan, not Maine) to help mark an event commemorating their ancestor's—a man named Horace Wilson—contribution to baseball's introduction there (again, Japan). Sound confusing? It isn't. Take a look and have a listen. In fact, it's a rather tame if not well-told story that focuses on the myriad positive, unsung things that happen in our world daily. No global or domestic violence. No crashing jetliners. No sensationalized politics. (Thank God.)

But that's beside the point.

The point comes when you listen to what's said starting at the 4'57" mark of the story's audio. Here, one of the Mainers involved, the father of the girl telling the story, speaks to a stadium audience of Japanese baseball fans in response to a question about the significance of what Horace Wilson stood for. A recording of the father from that day says, "Horace Wilson believed that education should include exercise of the body as well as exercise of the mind." He then goes on to admit at the time of the article, "Of course, no one knows what Horace Wilson believed at all so we made it up on the spot."


To say nothing of the fact that you have a rural American in big city Japan speaking English to a Japanese speaking audience about something no one today was alive for, but at least everyone still understands the importance of, some of the most important details for the reason of the story are just that—a story! There's no verifiable truth that that's what Horace Wilson believed, but that doesn't make it any less valid for those who experience what the story means to them today. It's made even more incredible when you consider how much the Japanese officials who came to Maine in-person to meet the family credited the cultural exchange that Wilson began so long ago in helping to shape events through Japan's industrialization, World War II, and beyond.

And so the story goes. History is constantly created through the eyes of those who perceive it, and when we don't perceive it, we conjure it out of little more than a gut feeling and the obligation to say something and the privilege to be heard! For how many notes in the timeline of our little Earth would that be true? How often do we supply an answer where there was none before, even if we're not an expert on the topic? Or report on something for the fifteenth time and change it a little, or spice it up, even if we don't know we're doing it? Many, many times I'd wager. And there's nothing to be ashamed of with that. The stories that mean the most to us have a way of becoming verifiably true the more we share them and the more they are accepted by those around us. No story that wasn't shared ever made it into the history books.

It's all about storytelling. There isn't a storytelling side to history; history is surrounded by it. And as a storyteller, that makes me smile. :D