Monthly Archives: August 2012

Dear Aravan: Your Questions, Answered

One of the best parts about having a blog is getting to see how people end up there. On a daily basis, I know how many people reached here by clicking a link on Facebook or Twitter or a different website, but the absolute best section is the Search Terms section. This tells you the weird and wonderful things people have typed into Google and somehow ended up on your site. Some things, like “bob harper” searches, are a natural fit with the blog and so it’s no surprise to get 400 or more varieties of searches in that vein in a 3 month period. Those things are fit perfectly.

It’s the other stuff that I love, though. The things that just don’t seem to be a natural fit whatsoever. They are the absolute best.

So I got an idea: why not take these bizarre and incongruous searches and turn them into a Question and Answer format, along with my most frequent searches? And when I say I “got” the idea, I mean I stole it, completely and unabashedly, from the awesome Candice Bundy. If you like dry humor with a twisting edge (and if you don’t, then what the fuck are you reading this for, anyway?), then you need to read her stuff. She’s even cool in person! (We’ve met, you see. We discussed writing in a bon vivant manner with our devil-may-care attitudes and poignant bon mots and bonded over a rational fear of scuba diving. Also, I was very drunk and may have just been shouting quotes from Revenge of the Nerds all night while she patiently put up with me.) So, here are the questions that you, the world, have asked me, and I will answer them as best I can.

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What Chris Cooley Meant to Me as a Redskins Fan

This post is going to be all about football, so most of you won’t care. It’s also going to be about the Redskins, meaning still less of you will give a shit. In fact, it’s going to be about one particular Redskin, so that’ll reduce the potential audience for this post to about one. I don’t give a shit. Some things need to be said.

I’ve been conscious of being a Redskins fan for 35 years. In that time I’ve had heroes, from good days and bad: Joe Theismann,  John Riggins, Darrell Green, Dave Butz, Dexter Manley, Art Monk, Downtown Charlie Brown, Joe Jacoby – hell, I could go on forever. But it’s been a long time since the Glory Days of the Hogs and Gibbs and the Pearl Harbor Crew and the Posse and Fun Bunch and all the rest. In fact, for 20 years now, being a Redskins fan hasn’t been all that fun. There was fleeting success during the Norv era, but that didn’t last, and then came the Bataan March of coaching. Schottenheimer, Spurrier, Gibbs 2.0 (and the last glimpse of success), Zorn (Jesus Christ, I still can’t believe there was a Zorn Era), and now Shanahan. I have hopes for the current coaching staff, I really do. Hope is pretty much the only thing Redskins fans have had to hang their hat on for 20 years. Hope that this year the line can stay healthy. Hope that a quarterback could emerge from the pile and become an NFL-caliber star. Hope that the defense would finally stop giving up 65% of 3rd down conversions. Hope that the young guys could do something.

For 8 years, though, there was one position that I, as a fan, didn’t have to feel hope about. It simply wasn’t necessary, because for this one area, there was certainty. At tight end, for the Washington Redskins, Chris Cooley was going to give everything he had on every play. He was a bright spot, an anchor, one guy we could count on every play even when we were certain nothing else would go right. On the field he was a beast, even if he never got the pimpage from ESPN that others like Witten or Clark or Gonzalez got. Didn’t matter. We, the Redskins fans, knew how awesome he was and how special it was to have him in the burgundy and gold. He was Our Guy.

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Shovelcast #1: From Realm of LARP, Sir Barrington / Christian Gebhart

Imagine me looking like this throughout the interview.

I warned you. And here it is. An hour and thirty-seven minutes of pure nerdery.

It’s the first-ever podcast, excuse me, SHOVELCAST, from Me and My Shovel, so it’s just like the typical post: long, rambling, full of curse words, unedited, and probably awful. I aim to please! Seriously, though, I had a lot of fun doing this interview with one hell of a great dude. We talk about LARPing in general, being nerds, and Realm of LARP stuff for a good long time. Christian was a hell of a good sport, considering that his first post-show interview was with an amateurish half-drunk boob (that’s me) who had no idea what he was doing.

Fun fact: as nerds, we were of course sitting at a gaming table in someone’s basement as we did this. Totally appropriate.

So anyway, if you want to hear Barrington’s side of the story from the infamous Episode 5 Debacle, you’re in luck! If you want to hear my words get a little more slurry as time goes on, now’s your chance! If you think I remember half of what’s on here, you’re out of your mind!

I need to figure out how to make this a drinking game.

So, here is the last bit of ado: thank you to John and Lori for the use of the basement, and to Kyle for the use of the voice recorder. And also thanks to Christian’s wife and mine for letting us get all bromancy for a couple of hours unsupervised.

Here it is. God help us all.

Oh and I should probably add: NSFW (occasional potty mouths, constant levels of man-crushing).

Interview with Christian Gebhart

Programming Notes and a Little Bit about GenCon

This one is going to be brief. I’ll wait while you recover from your bout of fainting at that news and as you wrestle desperately with your skepticism. Swear to god, I’ll be brief. Briefish. Somewhat succinct.

Man, it’s hard to do. It’s like asking Hemingway to write a Shakespearean play.

OK, first off, some programming notes. I just got back from vacation on Tuesday (I was at GenCon, more on that in a bit) so I’m a little behind.

Coming later today will be a first here at Me and My Shovel: a podcast. You read that right. Very soon, you’ll hear my gratingly irritating voice for the first time broadcast over the Internets. Because you know my love for keeping things short, this podcast lasts only an hour and 37 minutes. You’re welcome.

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Web Series Review: Realm of LARP

“Nerd Culture” is taking over. Face it, Brosef, with your “Sun’s Out, Guns Out” tank top and oversized shades and flip-flops. The Tyranny of the Bully Era has ended, and popular culture has embraced everything that used to get some poor skinny kid wedgied and stuffed into a locker. Comic books? Only the highest grossing movies at the box office. Computers? Yeah, I think they’ve gone a little mainstream. Video games? You get the point, Mr. Straw Man, so suck it. Even things like tabletop role-playing games are no longer an automatic ticket to Nerd Hell, thanks to offshoots like World of Warcraft making the concept approachable, and having someone like Vin Diesel come out and say they’re cool also helps, because you go ahead and call Vin Diesel lame, then let me know when you finish fishing your forearm out of your own throat.

Now, not everything that geek culture embraces is mainstream yet. Cosplay? Slowly but surely getting more accepted, thanks to the exploding popularity of Comic-Con and the other hugantic cons (that’s “conventions” for those unfamiliar with the term) out there. Anime fanatics? Well, some things still deserves wedgies. (I kid, I kid. However, Dragonball Z and a lot of popular anime is some of the worst dreck I’ve ever seen in my life. Yes, Princess Mononoke and Akira and Ghost in the Shell are incredibly beautiful and moving pieces of art, but most of the big-eyed panty-flashing’ tentacle-rapin’ underage-girls-who-are-“eighteen” kung-fu superpowerfulragefestin’ anime shit is purely awful in every way. But that’s neither here nor there.) There’s another geek staple that still isn’t embraced, and it’s near and dear to my heart, as I’ve said before.

LARPing.

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Smoke Detectors Can Kiss My Ass

This is my brand of smoke detector. I hope it dies in a fire.

“Smoke detectors save lives”. So says everyone and everything on the internet. Every day, a smoke detector saves umpty-bumpty lives while simultaneously providing a much needed ornamental flair to the otherwise drab ceilings of our homes.

I hate them ever so much.

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