lovehate: Finding Your Inner Geek (Part Two - Tools)

While I endeavored, in Part One of Finding Your Inner Geek, to show how geek culture is just as applicable to fishing as it is to computer or internet technology. The argument stands that any knowledge of the microcosm of a topic pushes one ever-further toward a level of geekdom. The relevant medium used to explore that relationship with fishing was print periodicals that refined from the generic to the hyper-specific Euro-published Carp Web.

The standard seemingly set by any geek culture is dancing on the fine line between the zen-like esoterica revolving around the people, places and things and the unbridled acquisition of stuff. As one moves up the chain from Hobbyist to Ubergeek, the winnowing of things occurs as knowledge and expertise fills the need for experimentation. But there are people who know how to exploit the Threshold Geeks and Geeks who's prime motivation to buy everything about everything within their field.

And so go the trade shows/conventions/conferences that, with much hype and grandeur, promote products like they've found a cure for cancer. Perhaps nowhere, outside of computer or gaming technology, do products get pumped out with minor tweaks and no real differentiated functions that those of tools.

Everyone knows the tool geek. Whether it's you, your father, mother, sister, brother, someone in your life owns several redundant pieces of hardware (actual hardware, not a 5-bay tower) that do exactly the same thing.

To prove this to you, I offer up the following questions:

1) Do you know someone who owns more that one hammer or drill?
2) Do you know someone who owns more than one set of router bits?
3) Do you know someone who has a collection of tool aprons with various logos?
4) Do you know someone who wears a "Black & Decker" or "Ryobi" hat or shirt?
5) Do you know someone who goes shopping at Home Depot "just to look"?

Like any geek continuum, names beget opinions and opinions beget arguments and purchases beget bikini-clad women in calendars holding power tools with conspicuously-placed innuendos in quotation marks that include words like drill, pound, hammer, screw that inspire clever quips like "grinder, I don't even know'er", or "sander, no that's okay I like'em rough". In fact, porn geeks and tool geeks could probably speak exactly the same language and mean completely different things. When talking about a Ridgid Clipped Head Nailer with consistent driving power, adjustable depth of drive, and rear exhaust, who would've thought one could be discussing the menu options at Paris Hilton's new bordello instead of an item in a Home Depot catalogue.

While Nascar followers are total realm of geekdom in themselves, there is a Venn crossover with people who cheer for the cars with their tool brand emblazoned on the side. When your girl can draw the Dewalt and Makita logos before the age of four and your boy knows Milwaukee as a Hole-Hawg drill instead of a city, when your spouse's best friend Stanley is a worn tape measure, when the only glasses and mugs you have in the kitchen cupboard have Bosch etched on them and were won as a door prize at a stag and doe or golf tournament, you have a tool geek in your house.

And all of this proves only one thing: that the person you stereotypically think is biggest redneck you know might also be the biggest geek you know. Does someone in your family know more about one topic than you know about computers or the web? Can your partner name 200 kitchen utensils and prizes a collection of melon ballers - ball'er I don't even... nevermind. Can your grandmother talk intelligently about 20 different kinds of needlepoint? Do you know ANYONE that scrapbooks, because trust me, I guarantee you, there is no such thing a hobbyist scrapbooker; they are either a full-blown scrapbook ubergeek or they've given it up.

Find your inner geek and point out the inner geek in others, then go fishing.

tool orgy

lovehate: Questions W5H


Who is the person that I occasionally catch the fleeting glimpse of in the mirror that causes me to double-take in confusion?
Who can explain the musical success of singer who cannot sing and musicians who cannot play?
Who greenlit Beverly Hills Chihuahua?
Who is that ING Direct guy and what ad wizards decided to put him on the air?
Who abducted the hearts of cities and replaced them with bowels?

What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
What cannot be defended against by a big enough cereal box fort?
What makes people think Comic Sans is acceptable for a business document?
What incredibly effective lobbying effort has kept the fax machine around this long?
What makes us afraid to see our strengths in others?

When did children learn to give up before high school?
When did keeping up with the Joneses dictate every suburban house in America besmirched by siding?
When did Prince see the white cliffs of sanity and decide "parachute optional"?
When will we tear the roof off the sucka?
When will we finally take everything back?

Where can I buy Silly Putty?
Where is east of somewhere and west of nowhere?
Where do animated gifs go to die?
Where does cloud computing go after the rain?
Where did I go wrong?

Why has style replaced substance?
Why is it that best ideas come to mind in inverse relation to my proximity to a pen?
Why is it that as much as pop culture lets me down I am inexorably drawn to it?
Why would loving deities permit suffering?
Why do so many people care about the acceptance of strangers?

How can our gift of seeing the big picture so obscure our ability to see the details?
How did we not rise up as one when networks placed bugs on our screens 24/7?
How does a litre of water from a machine cost more than a litre of gas from another?
How did everything become so diposable?
How do I start loving more than I hate?

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At DyscultureD we skewer the latest pop culture happenings north and south of “The 49th Parallel” - including movies, television, music, the internet, gadgets and much more. Feel free to explore the site and the podcast as we turn pop culture upside down to a state we like to call…DyscultureD.


lovehate: The New TV Season

After, so recently, having any remaining faith in television programming executives quashed with Fox's Japanese rehash of Hole in the Wall, I do have to admit that perhaps my second favorite season is the new network television season that, while becoming more staggered in it's tenure over the past decade, usually spirals out of Labor Day with great aplomb. Sure, the parameters of the network season were blown wide open with cable and access to some of the great programming on the BBC that often run more like epic mini-series than seasons, but there is no comparable storefront of the magnificent to the craptastic as one can get when the big US four crank out the pablum every fall.

The BitTorrent movement has created the ultimate time-shifting for me. There will be entire seasons I download that I will not watch until the following summer. Bruce Springsteen once sang of 500 channels and nothing on. There's plenty of stuff on; it's just that the viewing public used to only have to wade through 13 channels to find a good show. The time it takes to sift through the 500 channel sandbox means there's now a good chance the good stuff remains buried.

Incredibly, last season I managed to follow, through the torrent time-shift or otherwise, a roster of shows that was way too great in numbers for the average viewer, including some I'm loathe to having to admit watching. This fall I'm looking forward to a major network roster that includes The Big Bang Theory, Chuck, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, How I Met Your Mother, Heroes, Boston Legal, Fringe, Bones, Pushing Daisies, Sons of Anarchy, Dirty Sexy Money, Smallville, My Name is Earl, The Office, Supernatural, Grey's Anatomy, 30 Rock, Eleventh Hour, Life on Mars (although the BBC version of this show will NEVER be outdone by this already tweaked US attempt), Ghost Whisperer, Sanctuary, Numb3rs, The Simpsons, Dexter, True Blood, Family Guy, American Dad, The Unit, Californication (strangely, both not about porn), and Entourage.

Of course this is in addition to whenever they show new episodes of 24, Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Bonekickers, The Sarah Jane Adventures, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and South Park.

Some of these shows are guaranteed for the season, but some may die off, which is good because now that football season is well in swing and my favorite season (hockey) is on its way... I'm going to have to schedule to time on my Google Calendar to work on my cloning project.

While I'm happy to count on reality TV providing hours' worth programming I will never watch, I really need to find a way to pair down some of these shows, but when the winter storms roll in on weekends and I have a new 67" HDTV with a hard drive full of commercial-free programming... I'll be a happy man. Strap on your crap waders people. TV season is upon us. Build your hopes, clear your schedules, oil your recliner and tell people that being the media connoiseur you are, you have the ability to watch television on a macro-level that far exceeds their "idiot box" criticisms... it's better than Rabbit Season and Duck Season combined.

TV Season

lovehate: Hole in the Wall

Are you kidding me!?!

I thought I could spend a nice relaxing day watching some football with friends. This outside of the fact that I thought the new HD box I'd picked up from my cable provider would work... and then I found myself watching standard def. football all day. But sometime around the middle of the afternoon things took a turn.

While I'm generally okay with internet memes that flash for one brief shining moment like an old Kodak photocube bulb, the concept of "here and gone" rarely applies to television as they seem to descend to ever deeper levels until, I believe, the groundwater will eventually seep in and drown us all.

I can live with the fact that "I can has cheezburger" exists and that a year from now it will be as dead as "All your base are belong to us". I can live with Rickrolling and any other thing the web throws at me because I know the shelf life is limited at best.

I have always hated reality television. While I appreciate the economic attractiveness on behalf of the networks and slapstick or soap opera qualities that draw in the the audience looking to forget about their daily troubles by entrenching themselves in soma-induced splendour. While I've always hoped for the death of reality TV before it had drawn down the collective mindset of society to an unrecoverable level, I will now pronounce that the genre has bottomed out.

Fox TV (shock me, shock me, shock me) has announced the Series Premiere (and I hope Finale) of Hole in The Wall where, from all accounts people try to skillfully twist and contort their bodies through... wait for it... holes in walls.

I remember when I first saw the film trailer for Stomp the Yard that I was convinced it was a joke, a parody, a satire... anything but a real film. I was shocked when the trailer of Tommy Lee Jones' Man of the House turned out to be an actual theatrical release.

I've always thought that committees or boards have the distinct ability to take great ideas and water them down to where the original concept is all but unrecognizable. While we may have to suffer this aspect of the collective mindset, there should be a positive reason for them to exist - Hole in The Wall is this reason. That not only one person, but an entire programming group thought this worthy of television is a damning indictment of what TV execs think of us.

I'm posting this before watching Hole in the Wall. I know I'm being harsh in assuming this may very well be the worst show of all-time. And I'm cursing the Fox TV decision makers for letting Japan's gameshow idiocy to make it this far. Shows that are silly - fine. Shows that are goofy - okay. Shows that insult my intelligence by concept alone... all in all we are all just holes in the wall.

(edit: not to be one to criticize without at least an attempt to watch this show, I did sit through four minutes last night... the doctor says my eyesight should return within 48 hours.)

hole in the wall