Mutual Assured Delight

Archive for the tag “nerd”

Time-Crunched: On Writing

Like Colin, I too have been insanely busy ever since school has started.  Being the second sophomore ever in AP Physics at my high school is kind of intense.  That said, I don’t have a lot of time.  This post is hastily being thrown together in the few spare minutes I have between my seemingly endless pile of homework and band practice, so I apologize for its poor quality and I hope I can write something more enlightening and worthwhile later.   But for now, here are my crunched-for-time thoughts on creative writing:

Do it.

Seriously.  Go grab something to write on and write with and write.  It doesn’t matter what or how long it is, but just write something so surreal there is absolutely no chance it could actually happen.  Write a three word summary on alien invasions.  Write a novel starring Ben Franklin and his long-lost time-travelling brother.  Write a grocery list-esque poem about absolutely nothing at all.

The weight that is lifted in just a few minutes of scribbling nonsense onto a napkin is the most freeing feeling you will ever experience.  The best part?  No one has to see what you’ve written.  These silly little thoughts are for your eyes only.  Keep your friends close and your notes closer.  You never know when one of your after-work poems will inspire your next fanfiction, or screenplay, or novel.

This is why I always carry a blue pocket notebook on my person.  I never know when I might find something worthy to write down.  Some of these gems of thought have evolved into something more, starring in a short story or emerging as the plot for my NaNoWriMo novel.  But the majority of them stay in that little blue notebook, hidden away from the rest of the world until they’re ready to grow up.

So I dare you.  I dare you to find your own little blue notebook and embrace the art of creative scribbling.


Under the Covers


Under the vast canvas of a slighty worn black comforter, the characteristic light from a chipped silver gameboy advance sp illuminated the darkness of my prepubesent room. The screen was blank though, an odd thing for any gameboy held in the slender hands of a boy to be. No, this gameboy had more pressing duties at end. Yes, this console was the lantern that lit the way towards knowledge. Under those covers late at night I read books about magical beings an places. Hudden from a candid world( and a mother’s after bed time rage) I would dive into a sea of wonder.

More than a decade (and many strong prescription glasses) later, I find myself still diving into the paper dreams that I found at a younger age. I found myself recently at the other side of the country and found myself(lets face facts, I was drawn to it by some mystical force) at a local library. At that library, a magician was doing an event based on the national summer reading programs theme for the summer, dreams. This magian was not only entertaining, but insightful. He pointed out that there are two types of dreaming. Dreaming when you are asleep, as in dreams, and dreaming while awake. Magic and getting into an amazing book is the latter. During both experiences, belief and reality are locked on suspended animations. Dangerous dragons and magical movements happen right before the eye and in the head. We are dreaming while wide awake.
I know that I talk about this alot, but I cannot stress this enough. Hug a librarian. They are the gate keepers and the  key holders and the sandmen to dreams and fantasies beyond your wildest dream. I have been involved some way or another with the library system for as long as I remember, and it has benifited my a thousan folds over.  The library is truly a place full of dreams and dreamers.

Dreams are todays answers to tomorrows questions- Edgar Gayce

-Grant (I dream of a world where a good live action Last airbender movie is made)

Why Kids are Geeks (and why we should all strive to be kids)

Whether you adore little kids and their positive outlooks on life or you loathe their constant caffeine-like high and grubby, fidgeting hands, let’s face it:

Kids are geeks.

In fact, kids are, and always will be, the only pristine form of Geek that will ever walk the Earth. With their innate sense of being themselves, children have yet to be corrupted and trained to hide who they are, what they love, and what they believe in to fit the mold society (parents, peers, and the media) presses against us.  A child will stare at a handicapped person, not with pity or horror, but with innocent curiosity on why that human looks like a robot with their prosthetic leg or why they are in a wheelchair with a tube in their nose.  It’s this innocent curiosity that we lose as we get older when we’re taught not to stare at, point to, or question anything that isn’t deemed ‘normal’.  It’s this innocent curiosity that allows humans to grow and learn about themselves and others around them.  It’s this innocent curiosity that we need to soul search for as we get older, with more layers of security added as each birthday passes.

I love kids.  I work with them all throughout the summer, volunteering for the children’s programs at my local library and as a CIT for a day camp.  It’s with these kids that I feel most comfortable, because I know they aren’t going to judge me.  They don’t care what race or religion I am as long as I push them on the swings.  They don’t care what my sexuality or gender is as long as I help them find the book they’re looking for.  If I am kind and friendly to them, they like me.  That’s all that matters.  And that should be all that matters as we get older, but how quickly we are blinded when we are placed in the orderly line set to keep everyone organized and the same.

Humans need to learn from their smaller form, and strive to be like them in the sense of unconditional love (not unlike that of a dog’s), acceptance, and zest for life.  Sure, we want to grow up from the days of temper tantrums, but we don’t want to lose sight of the most important values to have.  If every single person showed just who they are and accepted others in the way a kid does, we’d have a lot less hate, bigotry, and anger in the world.

A true geek isn’t just an expert on their topic of choice, whether it be movies, books, comics, or other nerdy things.   A true geek isn’t just someone who reads under the covers at night to avoid an early bedtime or tries to defeat the next Pokemon gym leader before the school bus comes in the morning.

A true geek is in touch with their inner child.


(Oh, I probably should introduce myself.  I’m Rizzo, and Colin is my Musically-Inclined-Older-Brother-I-Never-Had.  I do have a real older brother, but we’ll talk about him another time.)

Comic Store Heroes: Real Life Super Heroes

Up Up and Away! Click for a link to Mid Town Comics

There is no doubting or denying it. Being a geek, or a nerd, or whatever sub category you delineate yourself with is becoming not only tolerated, but embraced.  Still, there will always be that percentage of the total population who can say that they eat, breath, and sleep the geek. I don’t think I can. Will Wheaten and Felicia Day defiantly can.  Still, it is rare to see a television not only for geeks, but celebrates the lifestyle. Last night, I saw a television show slipped nicely into that Mylar sleeve. On July thirteenth Comic Store Heroes, a show about a comic store called Midtown Comics, premiered on NatGeo.  In the special one hour opening, the show followed the owner, two of the main staffers, and two comic fans with unique stories as they all prepared for comic-con New York.  The main players in this amazing episode included: Gerry Gladstone who is an owner, Thor Parker the marketing and events manager, Alex Roe, who is in charge of buying and selling merchandise, Jill Pantozzi a huge name in geek blogging, and Chris R.Notarile who is an aspiring comic book creator.

A simple synopsis of the hour long premiere is that Midtown Comics is preparing for Comic-Con. During this time Thor has to try to find a big name to sign autographs at their table and Alex must buy 10,000 comics along with the task of finding a special comic book for Gerry, “Hot Stuff, The Little Devil No.1″. Along the way we meet Chris Notarile , a man on a mission to get his comic on the shelves of Midtown Comics. To do this, he must woo Thor at comic-con with super ideas.  Jill Pantozzi, a blogger with muscular dystrophy and 15,000+ views is featured.  The teapot comes to a whistle as Comic-Con approaches and the pressure builds up.  What happens? Watch the episode.

The first time I went to Midtown Comics was my freshman year of High school.  I was on a trip with the orchestra and we had extra free time to walk around NYC.  Something attracted me to that amazing shop, and every chance I can find myself in New York with extra time and extra money I head down there. As you watch the show, you can truly tell how special a comic book shop is. A community is formed, and as long as you have an interest in comics you are immediately accepted into the clan of collectors.  Comic Store Hero is special because it does not try to build upon an age old stereotype. It shows a candid community of people who share a common bond and the extremes that they will go for their passion.  Whether you have been reading comics since before you could talk or you have only seen The Amazing Spiderman in films, Comic Store Heroes is a show to watch.  Sometimes, a super hero doesn’t have to fly. They just have to believe and move forward.




Super Spotlight: Bucky Barnes

Happy Amercia day (that’s right, Amercia)!  On this fabled day where the night is lit by freedom and our veins add two more colors to their passageways, we must also remember the men and women who gave for this country.  Throughout time, Comics have been a way to demonstrate the American morale by presenting a hero who fought against evil at home and afar (evil of course being subjective, but let’s not dwell on that).  In the past few decades we have seen our masked vigilantes ( also including those working for the government thanks to Mr. Tony Stark) defeat Nazis, Communists, terrorists, and the occasional nazi alien.  This Independence day, a particular hero must be brought to spotlight that embodies America. Not Captain America or The Americommando or even The Spirit of ’76. No, the hero I want to shine a spotlight on was considered nothing more than a sidekick, though what he did was very heroic.

Bucky Barnes.

Bucky Barnes, sometimes known as simply Bucky, was the teenage sidekick of Captain America.  After his father died, he became a mascot for the camp and eventually befriends Steve Rodgers. Now, prepare yourself for one of the stupidest ways for a secret identity to be discovered. Are you ready? Are you sure? Are you sitting down? All right then…..Bucky caught Capt. America changing into his uniform. Pretty dumb. Almost as dumb as changing the pronunciation of a few beloved animated characters for a ridiculous big screen adaption.  As the story goes, Bucky was eventually trained to be the Captain’s sidekick at the ripe fighting age of 15. Sounds about right for 1940’s America. By the Cap’s  side he fought off the Red Skull and Nazis. A bit propagandic, but you get the jist. Eventually he is believed to be blown to pieces by Baron Zemo and The Cap is frozen.

Done deal, right?



Welcome to the world of comics, where no one is dead for very long.  Russians found Bucky Barnes frozen body, sans one arm.  Bucky became an amnesic Soviet Union assassin with a bionic arm known as the Winter Guard who when not killing or cryogenically frozen was shacking up with Black Widow . Who knew.  Well, yada yada yada, plot plot plot, regains memory with the help of Captain America and becomes The New Captain after Steve Rodgers is assinated.

So why did I choose Bucky and not Captain? It is pretty obvious that Bucky was a huge propaganda tool to get children involved in war efforts. I chose him because he is somewhat identifiable. He was not injected with a super solider serum when he first fought. Just a kid who worked hard and wanted to defend his country.  I am the first to admit the fact that i am not not the most gung-ho die-hard patriot. Some might even calm me a socialist(Though I think it is possible to be both). I can, however, respect somebody willing to, and have, died for our country. Bucky was a boy in a world of gods, and he still found a way to be pretty damned super. Thanks Bucky, and to the people who have mad sacrifices for our country.

Happy fourth.



Trolls and Terminology One

Believe it or not I have friends.

No, really.

Believe it or not, not all of my friends are gamers or into comics/fantasy.

Stop laughing, I’m trying to be serious.

Now, I will be the first to admit that there are people who surpass me in every conceivable way when it comes to geekery. Still, I understand the lingo and even sometimes use it.  (Hey mom, I didn’t make the football team but I got a certificate from the Harvard saying that I am fluent in L33T). This is where the language barrier comes in.  Sometimes a phrase or term is used that does not have a direct translation into the realm of pop culture or common speak.  That is why decided to do this weekly. I am going to attempt to explain certain terms to the best of my ability.         Please, if I get something wrong tell me.



Hammerspace (Magic Satchel): We have all played Pokémon, right.  I’m just going to assume that everybody has played Pokémon at least once in their life. Remember that small little bag that your character had around his/her back. Remember how it could 99x Potions, 99 empty poke balls, a bike, a ridiculous amount of HM’s/TM’s, and your cool refreshing Coca-Cola ( Never Pepsi because Pepsi is Communist scum. America!) ? That’s a magic satchel. Hammerspace also explains why Zelda can carry so many weapons and Oscar the Grouch has an infinite amount of garbage in his trash can.


Think of it like this. Have you ever seen a girl pull phone out of their chest?

Now imagine if instead of a phone, it was Dumbo.

Ok, maybe not an exact analogy but it’s like that.

How about, imagine a larger than average (obese) man running away from an ax murderer and is able to successfully hide behind a sapling.  Where did the rest of him go!?


Hammer Time?

Noooo, Hammer Space.

How Geek Grant got his Groove Back


What’s a Joss Whedon?

Can you eat it!?

Okay. Before I begin, I have to get something off of my scrawny back.

I haven’t been a real geek in four years……OH NOEZ!

Yes it is true. That bright eyed (figure of speech, my eyes are as brown as my chocolate skin) bespeckled young boy who stayed up past his bed time and read Dragon Lance ( Warning: do not let your young children read Dragon Lance. It is NOT for kids) under the covers by the light of a purple Gameboy advanced had been abducted. His theft was not orchestrated by trouble-making Trolls or vicious Vulcans or even a sickening Shamlyan (I don’t care what you say I will never forgive him for what he did to team avatar).  No, he was locked in a dungeon by the worst kind of End-Of-Level Boss imaginable.

Life. Duh….Duh. DUUHHHH!!!

Okay. Maybe not as bad as Dark Link, but still, ouch.  Now, I am not saying that I still didn’t watch the occasional episode of Bleach when my insomnia got the better of me on a Saturday night or go the occasional midnight movie/book premiere, but I was less of the man (or geek) I was.  Like most of the people (if you are actually people and not the imagination of an autistic child within a snow globe) reading this, I have had my fair share of isolation and regression into fantasy.  My escape became my reality.

And I was okay with that.

But, like voice actors for dubbed One Piece, things change. In high school I joined the musicals, the academic programs, every possible music group, and focused on my studies.   I was also convinced (forced) to join the marching band. Though I gained social status (Not to be confused with good social standing. I just actually gained a status; like paralyzed or poisoned.), I lost what made me, well, me. I no longer role-played online as Delano Sloane/Atrum krigare on Gaia Online, I no longer spent all of my money on Manga/ comics and videogames, I no longer spent my days on MangaVolume with friends from across the globe, and I no longer squealed in delight for every new Pokémon game. Sure, I was still a geek who got pissed when nobody knew who Gwen Stacey and why she was important, but I was Geek Kool-Aid (shut up) watered down. This went on for a period of time that I am ashamed to share.

But then something happened.

 The Fire Nation attacked?

Something amazing happened that changed my life for the better.

 Avatar Aang broke out of the dreaded Titanic iceburg?

School began to end. One by one my “more important” commitments faded away, and Grant the Geek grew stronger. Marvel Movie Madness, Young Justice, and so many more things gave him his strength back. Manga was his ambrosia and the gods of geek found him in their favor. There was one thing left that had to be done though.

Enter: Mystic Realms.

At an “It Gets Better” event held by a friend of mine, I reconnected with a graduate from my school. After talking for a bit she mentioned LARP. Now don’t get me wrong, I have been around the block with RP’s a few time, but never anything physical.  She spun magical stories to me about elf’s and gods and warlocks and shadow monsters. After much convincing, I found myself being driven to my first LARP event.

I was hooked before it even began.  The atmosphere and the people was a breath a fresh air. Colin Grant the ex-geek was gone. In his place Grant Atrum Sloane, a deep elf rogue was born. Grant was bought into the realm known as Evermore and brought into the group known as GuildenHall. Grant was taught how to fight, how to trade, and how to die. Alot.

I died alot.

Yet, even dying was exciting and breathtaking. This was the jumpstart that I needed for my batteries. Mystic Realms helped bring me back to the culture that made me happiest. I learned that the answer to which is better, brother hood or original is always brotherhood (Google it). I learned that it was okay to be a fan boy, even if you accidently talk about your first experience with yaoi. I learned that there is life after death, as long as you have a healer close by.

Most of all, I learned that life is all about choices. Before the event began Vito, the coordinator of that particular event, gave a speech that was nothing short of a paradigm shift. He talked about choices.  Some are made for, and some we make. Sometimes the choices are positive and other times negative. Sometimes, the choice is simply not to choose anything.  These choices shape who we are, where we are, and why we are.  On that day, I chose to not only choose Grant the Geek, but accept him with open arms and embrace him. My next chapter in life is college. I do not know what choices I will make in the next four years. All I know is that I will make them as me, Grant the Geek.

Okay? Okay.

Oh, and Apparently Joss Whedon IS edible. He tastes like your favorite food. Mmmmm, Whedony.

Mystic Realms is a Live Action Role Playing group located in New Jersey. We-and I say we because I am one of the newest members- focus primarily on the theatrical side of role-play. We are more than players killing everything in sight. We are the actors, audience, and directors. Sure we still have epic battles. My thighs were sore for days. The MY difference is that it is all done with fun and the RP in mind. Though I entered Guildenhall first, Mystic Realms has something for everyone. Zombies, Apocalypse, and much much more. I implore you to check it out, even if you have never even heard of LARP before. We have something for everyone.

Ooo Eee Ooo Ah Ah. Ding, Dang Shyamalan’s a ding dong.


Remember, Geeks are people too (kind of)


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