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I recently attended the massive PAX gaming convention here in Seattle, along with several members of my well-known entourage. What an amazing geek event! Every year, it gets bigger and bigger! It's just incredibly exciting for me, as a crazed gamer, to celebrate something I love with about 75,000 members of my own dice-rolling, card-collecting tribe.
75,000 people for a gaming convention? You'd think that geeks would finally be free of the "living in your parents' basement" stigma, but that's one thing that still hasn't changed. I hear it on the street, I hear it in the office, and now we're hearing it from Jimmy Kimmel. I did hear it finally, Jimmy made some comments recently that rubbed the geek community the wrong way, and he's definitely hearing about it on the internet. Honestly, I was really surprised to hear that a (relatively) younger comedian would be so short-sighted about such a major aspect of modern culture.
Games are fun, and I don't know why people insist on taking their jabs. Who's getting hurt by gamer culture? I get together with my gaming friends all the time, and we have a blast! I guess some folks just don't like fun…
As always, we invite the geeks in our radio audience to check out the Geek Nation podcast! We do it every week, and it's powered by a love of all things geeky! You're safe with us, geek friends!
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
As a boy at the god-awful age of 16, I lived on Staten Island, the forgotten borough of New York City. I had a cluster of maybe five close friends and some peripheral ones who occasionally appeared, and we would hang out. Being the bad guys we were, we often did our hanging in front of the library, which if the truth be told, was close to home: I lived behind the library. Sometimes we sat in my dad’s car, which was even closer to home and never moved, and listened to “Cousin Brucie” Bruce Morrow and “Murray the K” Kaufman and a host of others, double entendre intended. We were all great students and athletes, and we never drank or did drugs, and sometimes I wonder what kids today would think of us.
One of the songs that hit the charts and the hearts that summer was “Sherry” by the Four Seasons, released in the heat of August to add steam to the life of an already hot and bothered 16-year-old male. I remember one night as we stood on the corner in front of the library, looking more intellectual than tough, one of the new neighborhood arrivals came by, a girl to die for, whom I suspect many may have died for by now. I knew then that I would never forget her and I haven’t, but her family left town about as quickly as they had arrived, which happened a lot in my neighborhood. I don’t remember her name, and I don’t remember what she looked like either, but she was hot, I think. I bet you’re wondering what, in all that’s forgotten, I do remember.
I remember the song “Sherry” playing on someone’s transistor radio, I remember it being a very hot night, and I remember this hot girl. I was a very shy kid, but on this hot summer night as the Four Seasons heightened my senses with words about red dresses and twist parties and moving nice and easy, I found words coming out of my mouth, asking this girl where we were going (and I probably looked behind me to see who had actually uttered those words). With that she took me by the hand and walked me out into the middle of the road over a manhole cover and pointed down. “There. There is where we are going,” she said. “Where? What is there?” I asked, and she said, “Straight to hell.”
I may not remember her name, face, or what was so hot about her to begin with, but I remember those words, and sometimes on a hot summer night I can still see that manhole cover and hear the words “straight to hell,” and I wonder what she knew that I didn’t. That same year the Vietnam War was escalating, and many soon to be 18-year-old males were indeed heading straight to hell.
There are more thoughts on this and other things on the shores of Rambling Harbor. Join me there.
It’s Group Therapy, where Rock-A-Holics help one of their own with a problem that’s too big to be handled solo! (Isn’t “Handled Solo” a Star Wars character?) Let’s see if we can offer some assistance to today’s patient…
Teresa wrote in to discuss a case of parental sabotage. She and her ex-husband don’t have a good relationship; in fact, she says that co-parenting their 8-year-old daughter is the only reason they have any communication at all. Her ex has a new wife, who is 10 years younger than his former wife. Teresa admits that she has some resentment toward this woman, who she describes as “pretty”, because her ex-husband treats her the way that he never treated Teresa. She even says that they would probably be together if he had treated her the way he does his new wife.
Teresa believes that the new wife is trying to sabotage her, offering this case as her evidence: for a recent birthday, the stepmom gave Teresa’s daughter a bunny. Teresa believes that the woman knew that Teresa is allergic to animals, and is passively-aggressively forcing her to get rid of the bunny, thus breaking her child’s heart in the process.
Oh, Teresa. You have a lot of growing to do, I think. Honestly, I am tempted to tell you what I really think…but you’re a listener, and I’m trying to appreciate you. I’m going to let the Rock-A-Holics weigh in on your paranoid concerns, and we’ll see what they have to say.
Hello again, good people of Rock-A-Holica! (Yeah, that sounds weird. We probably won’t be trying that one again, but you know we like to keep it fresh…sort of.) Anyway, it’s time for Group Therapy, so let’s see what the Trouble Stork has delivered this time.
James and his wife are expecting a baby, so congratulations to them! Mrs. James wants someone extra in the delivery room: her best friend, going back to elementary school; unfortunately, James can’t stand this woman, and he doesn’t want her there at all.
We live in an age of overexposure, and this is just one more aspect of the new way of thinking. I know I’ll be accused of being old-fashioned, but I feel like the father should have some input regarding the people who are present when his child is born. What do you have to say on the subject, folks?
You’re never too old for Group Therapy, although I can’t really recommend it for the younger set. It gets a little raw around here sometimes, and we don’t want to harm the tender ears of children…
Mary has an age-related predicament that she needs some help with: she’s dating a man who is much older, and she’s worried that their age gap might be a little TOO wide. The difference between them is 17 years, with Mary in her mid-20s, and the boyfriend in his 40s.
Mary’s family doesn’t approve, and her friends say they can’t find anything in common with him. For her part, Mary is crazy about this guy; she believes he may be The One, and she’s hoping to convince everyone to come around to her way of thinking.
We don’t have much more to go on, so I can’t make a judgment based on the guy’s personality, or how he interacts with the family and friends. So, I’m going to turn this over to the Rock-A-Holics for some feedback! If you have any advice on making a relationship work with a big age split, fire it up!
Hey, gang! You’re never obligated to help out with Group Therapy, but we do appreciate the advice you share!
Today’s session is already getting my blood pressure up, so let’s just take this frustrating dive together…
22-year-old Trista got married back in February and her parents picked up the bill for the occasion. The grand total for their daughter’s special day was a cool $45,000.00…so this was no small affair, obviously.
After barely half a year, the marriage has ended in separation. Obviously, some mistakes were made, and we all know that mistakes can be costly in many different ways. In this case, the cost includes a demand from Trista’s parents that they get their money back! Trista is confused and upset, because she just doesn’t understand why her parents aren’t willing to eat 45k for a marriage that crashed and burned before it ever really got airborne.
This is more B.S. from the entitlement generation: Foot the bill for my mistake, and when you feel like you should be repaid, I’ll take my problems to the public! I’m just certain the world will be outraged on my behalf. Life is so unfair! Can’t I just have everything I want, without consequence or conscience?
This one’s going directly to the court of public opinion, because if I take the time to say what’s on my mind, I’m just going to start yelling and swearing (even more than usual). Let’s hear your thoughts on Trista’s situation, good people!
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
The song “At the Zoo,” recorded by Simon and Garfunkel and released as a single in 1967, was intended to be in the soundtrack of The Graduate, written for the scene that takes place at the San Francisco Zoo, but the song tells the story of a trip to the Central Park Zoo in New York City. Perhaps that’s why it didn’t make the cut. But it’s a song I like—the lyrics are fun, giving character traits to different animals, for example, portraying orangutans as skeptical and zebras as reactionaries—and it’s been the soundtrack in my mind recently.
I went to a zoo the other day, The Stone Zoo, which first opened in 1905 and in 1990 was forced to close after big-time state budget cuts. The public wanted the zoo, though, and kicked up a bit of a fuss, so the state senate, along with help from fundraising and other donations, set up a private, non-profit corporation to manage it. The Stone Zoo reopened on June 6, 1992. As I ambled about for the first time in maybe 30 years, maybe more, I noticed many of the attractions I remembered from the early-to-late 1980’s, when the zoo flourished, were gone. As I talked with some of the zookeepers, it became apparent the zoo is still in desperate need of funding.
During the transition from public to private, the zoo lost all of its large animals except for Major, a polar bear who stayed at the zoo until his death. Major had been the star attraction since his arrival at the Stone Zoo in 1975, and he was also the “poster bear” when the people wanted their zoo back. He weighed about 900 pounds, stood over 8 feet tall, and lived to be 33 years old — the oldest known polar bear in captivity. Major was the Stone Zoo in so many ways. He was put to sleep in June of 2000 after a long bout with cancer, but his presence at the zoo is still greatly missed. When I knelt by the black bear you see in the photograph, I felt we were both saying a prayer for Major.
The bear in my photo is a rescue bear. He and his brother were found without a mother and were sheltered with the hope that they would be returned to the wild, but they could not be rehabilitated enough to go to the mountains safely. So here they are, safe and content in a good-size area.
My friends thought I was bit whacked went I said I was going to talk to this big guy and proceeded to lie down and call him over, but as you can see from the picture we hit it off big time. I so wanted to touch him, and even though a thick piece of plastic hung between us, I know this guy and I were communicating, and it was good.
Sometimes zoos bother me, particularly when the animals do not have enough space or the area they are in is poorly maintained, usually because of lack of money. It seems it has become more important to spend money to find life on Mars than care for the lives we have here.
There are more thoughts on zoos and other things on the shores of Rambling Harbor. I hope you’ll join me there.
Hello again, good people! If you’re the type to share some good advice, we could really use you in Group Therapy! We have Rock-A-Holics in need, so let’s get down to it!
We heard from Wyatt, who wrote in because he’s worried that his father-in-law is carrying on some kind of inappropriate relationship with a woman at the gym. Wyatt has been a firsthand witness to their lingering physical contact, and he also noticed that they spend an incredibly long amount of time talking together. Wyatt says that if he didn’t know better, he would assume they were in a relationship.
Wyatt approached his father-in-law at the gym after watching him interact with the woman, clearly catching him by surprise. He asked Wyatt “how long he’d been there”, and was definitely shocked to see him there. Wyatt wonders if he should say something to his wife about her father’s relationship with this woman.
Ultimately, the father-in-law is a grown man, and I don’t understand Wyatt’s fascination with this…whatever-it-is. Isn’t it better to just let people do what they’re going to do? There are so many potential moving parts in this scenario, ranging from the relationship parameters between his wife’s parents, to his wife’s potential rage reaction, and back around to the simple truth that it may be completely innocent.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I think this one is better left alone, but maybe you disagree. Should Wyatt get in the middle of this matter, or just let it go? Your opinions are appreciated, gang!
It’s Group Therapy time! We appreciate the good advice you share with your fellow Rock-A-Holics, so keep up the good work! Let’s see who we’re helping today…
Ray is happily married with a great wife. He also has a platonic female friend who suffers from depression, and he tries to be there for her when she needs him. Ray and his female friend meet for coffee, and he lets her take the time to share her problems; they also take walks from time to time. During these walks, they occasionally hold hands.
Well, that sets off an alarm in my head. I take a lot of grief for my strong stand against male-female friendships when at least one of the people is in a relationship with someone else. HOLDING HANDS, Ray?! Seriously?
Ray’s wife knows about the friendship, but she doesn’t know how close they are, or about the depression. Ray says he’s worried about his friend, and he fears that pulling back from their established friendship could send her into a spiral. He wonders if he should explain everything about this friendship to his wife.
I’m throwing my hands up in the air on this one. Men and women should NOT be hanging out if they’re not intimately involved, and I’m not changing my stance on that anytime soon (read: ever.) Why would you take on this woman’s problems? Let her find a man of her own, and you can focus on your marriage. This is trouble waiting to happen, and that’s my last word on the subject.
I don’t care about this situation, and it’s making me irritated to keep dwelling on it. Let’s hear it from you, good people…what do you think Ray should do about this weird little triangle he’s built for himself?
We work hard around here, but we usually end up getting all the credit, anyway…because no one really wants to stamp their name on the half-assery that we commit on a daily basis. It’s Group Therapy, and it’s all about Rock-A-Holics helping Rock-A-Holics!
Today’s patient-in-need is Lee. He’s dealing with a co-worker who is taking credit for his hard work! Lee’s been at the job for about three years, and the new guy is still…well, new. The new guy was recently recognized for Lee’s work by their mutual boss, and even posted on Facebook that he was happy to be complimented for his achievements! Lee is sick and tired of this coattail rider, and he’s not sure what to do about it!
I’d offer my own opinion, but I’m sure Migs (or Vicky, or Rev, or Mono Nick, or Prodigy, or Sara, or INSERT NAME HERE) will just end up taking credit for my genius! Do you have any advice for Lee, folks?