Geeks of the Round Table

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So you want to be a superhero? (Halloween for Guys)

Let me get this out there right now: I love Halloween. It is arguably my favorite holiday, simply because I thoroughly enjoy coming up with creative costumes. Take this one for example:

Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to build this...
In any case, many people may be considering being a superhero for Halloween. Unless you can afford a muscle-suit or the armor pieces to pull off a good batman, however, you may be lost on how to be a superhero without breaking your budget. Well, here are a few heroes that you should be able to throw together at the last minute:

1. Cloak
What you need:
1. A cloak.
2. That is all.
Okay, so maybe you'll want to wear black underneath the cloak, but seriously, this is the simplest of the simple. Get Cloak, wear Cloak, DONE.

2. Phantom Stranger
What you need:
1. A suit
2. A fedora
3 A gold circle for the medallion
4. A cloak. (cloaks are important)
Potentially an eye-mask, but it isn't required. All right-thinking people already have a fedora.

3. You, if you were chosen to be a green lantern.
Okay, this sounds lame, but bear with me:
1. Black pants.
2. A green lantern T-Shirt, available EVERYWHERE.
3. A green lantern ring, or just a green ring. Again, shouldn't be hard to find either online or at a store.
Again, a mask is optional. I just put Baz up there to show that the costume doesn't really need to be all that complicated. Have fun with it.

4. Tony Stark

Not Iron Man, just Tony.
1. Jeans
2. Any shirt that an LED light can show through, or just a tank top.
3. Arc Reactor toy or costume piece. 
4. Fake facial hair or grown facial hair is optional.
Just stick the chest piece under your shirt, and bam, you're basically done.

5. Any superhero t-shirt with normal clothes over it.
Okay, this one takes a bit of imagination and acting. Here's what you need:
1. A t-shirt with a superhero logo on it.
2. A button up shirt.
Now, all you do for the night is wait for people to ask what you are. Before you answer, pretend to hear something in the distance, then dramatically pull open your shirt to reveal the logo, and run off. Or just pull open your shirt dramatically. Either way.

I hope this helps. I will be trying to come up with a women's list shortly.


PETA used parody game! It's not very effective...

(I have to preface this article by stating that if you are a vegetarian, a vegan, or an animal rights activist, I am in no way trying to disrespect you or your choices. There are perfectly legitimate reasons for the lifestyles, and I am in no way trying to tell anyone they're wrong...except for incompetent ass-hats.)

PETA, you and I were never friends. Don't get me wrong, I like animals. I have no less than four in my care as I am typing this. Heck, I even like OTHER animal rights groups, like the Humane Society. I can even go as far as standing those anti-animal abuse commercials with Sarah Mclachlan where you hear the "In the arms of the angels" lyrics and just go "OH GOD TEH POOR ANIMALS, CHANGE TEH CHANNEL BEFORE THEY STARE INTO MY SOUL!" and then what feels like an hour later you flip back to the same channel and are like "OH GOD HOW IS THIS STILL RUNNING WHAT IS I DON'T EVEN...!" and then go about hating yourself for the rest of the day. I don't like to sit through them, but at least they're good at what they're there for: making you feel guilty.
Well, there's goes all my good feelings for the day.
You PETA, on the other hand, are not good at this. I would go as far as to say that you are terrible at this. Let's look at your advertisements, shall we? You seem to have two horses in your stable: overly sexual, and overly horrific. Let's see why neither works.
If I saw this advertisement in passing, I wouldn't stop because I care about the cause. Hell, if I found it on the internet, I wouldn't stop at all for fear that I had somehow gotten to that dark part of the web that is only heard of in the hushed whispers of 14 year-olds who figured out the wi-fi password. But hey, let's say it worked as intended, and we stopped because of the model. How exactly does this make us feel motivated to help elephants? Sex makes things seen, to be sure, but how are we taking anything but the sexualization out of this? If it's the guys with what I'm guessing are spears, then it's not clear enough to get our attention away from the foreground.
But hey, let's see your other stuff and maybe we'll...
HOLY S**T! Woah! Just woah!
Do not take my shock as a good job on your part. It really isn't. Why? Because again, I don't come away with this ad with a desire to help animals. Animals don't even cross my mind for awhile. There is a value to shock, but too much of it and your original point is lost.
So let's compare the two media campaigns: one is a heartfelt plea featuring pictures of actual downtrodden animals and the assurance that there is something you can do to proactively help, and the other is focused on playing to your most primal senses and beating you in the face with how terrible of a person you are.

So at this point, you're probably wondering why I'm talking about this. After all, PETA is not geeky or superhero-y, so why do I bring it up. I bring it up because PETA decided it was going to go after something I am very fond of.
Oh. Hell. No.
My first pokemon game was Blue version on Christmas of 1998. I started with squirtle (because turtles are awesome and he was on the cover.) I currently own sapphire, diamond, pearl, heartgold and white (my blue and silver no longer work, sadly.) I own each and every one in a living pokedex up to gen 4.
I hope you realize who's tree you just rustled PETA. I don't call myself the geekasaurus (entirely) for the fun of it. I am a seven foot tall man who speaks a little Russian, which is all the motivation I need right now to make an Ivan Drago reference.
I must break you.
Now, for those of you who are unaware, pokemon is a franchise in which you are a pokemon trainer, collecting and battling various magical monsters you find all across the land to prove that you and your team of monsters are the very best. PETA saw this and went "OMG ANIMAL ABUSE!"
Now if you have no experience with the actual games, and only have the most basic understanding of the franchise, you may not understand where PETA is going wrong. Well, fortunately you have me.
The fallacy is in thinking of pokemon as dog-fighting, wherein the owners force their otherwise peaceful dogs to cruelly maul each other to the death for their entertainment. That is sick, and it still annoys me that Michael Vic is playing football again.
In the actual mythos of the show, however, pokemon goes out of it's way to show that pokemon fighting is more like competitive martial arts or boxing. There are several instances where it is mentioned that pokemon will battle each other in the wild as a form of strength-building. The pokemon trainer is just that: a trainer. It is the trainer's job to raise the pokemon to be the best that it can be, and that is what the pokemon wants, as demonstrated by it's happiness gauge, which can rise and fall based on how it performs in battles.
In the games, and especially in the show, good pokemon trainers care for their pokemon, even ones not suited to battling. An injury is a rush to the pokemon center, being knocked unconscious means that the fight is over. As an 8 year old, there was real tension in hoping that you could get your poisoned pokemon medical attention before it fainted, not because there was any penalty (there really wasn't) but because that was your pet and you cared about it.
Now, there are trainers who treat pokemon as tools, as weapons to fight, and to whom no weak pokemon can have any kind of worth. Those are called the bad guys. And it is for those exact reasons that you are going up against them. Once pokemon battles stop being friendly competition and start going into that dark territory, it is made totally, impeccably, and undeniably clear that they are cruel people who should never be emulated.
So to bottom line this: pokemon and their trainer are not a tortured pit bull and a jackass on a power trip. They are Bruce Lee and Ip Man, coach and player. It's about care for each other.

But you didn't know any of that PETA, did you? You didn't bother to actually take the time to understand just what the hell you were talking about. You took the show on it's most basic mechanics and decided to fling yourself onto your high horse with the speed of a rapidash on carbos and tout just how horrible something you had no concept of was. You had to go back through fifteen years and slap each and every child who found themselves immersed in a magical world where being good means being loving and being bad means being selfish right in the face.
Because that's who you are PETA. You are that ignorant hipster in every college philosophy class touting your superiority on issues you don't actually get. You want to shock us into complacency, showing us startling images to tell us that even though we don't actually see your point, you must be right. Your head is shoved so far up your own ass that you are pressing your ear to your own bleeding heart.
In actuality however, this campaign doesn't matter. It is a gigantic waste of your time and money. Anyone who buys the crap you are touting here obviously was never into pokemon in the first place, and anyone who is or ever was into pokemon can smell your bullshit a mile out.
Even those people who don't know pokemon know you though, PETA. Remember that whole tanuki suit campaign? Remember the children's books on how owning pets made you the devil?

 The world knows you're a joke.

Sorry for swearing so much, readers.


Loki vs. Zod

So if there is one thing that any alien would-be overlord loves, it's people kneeling before his greatness. The big question however, is who does it better? Vote by commenting below!


TV4U: Who wants to be a Superhero?

It should come as a surprise to precisely no one that I am not a fan of reality television. Big Brother, Survivor, especially toddler's in tiaras, just serve to remind me that there is probably no hope for the future of mankind, and that your average person is, in fact, a sheep who will gladly flock to what is blatant exploitation of people who in reality are just characters fabricated by producers and editors.
I'd put "I don't want to live on this planet anymore" here, but not living on this planet wouldn't erase the memories...
I could go on and on about how reality television is a sham (how did you switch to an angle behind them, but the camera that was in front of them has disappeared?) but what we're here to talk about today is a reality show that I not only watched, but thought was amazing. It was called "Stan Lee's: Who Wants to be a Superhero?"

The premise of the show was simple: Stan Lee would gather a group of people playing original superheroes, and he would present them secret tests of character to find how which would be the most fit to be adapted to comic books.
Now, I will admit that my memory of the second season (the one depicted in the picture) is spotty. I mainly recall the first. Interpersonal drama was at an absolute minimum, and the focus of each episode was clearly on the challenges the potential superheroes would face.
One that sticks out in my mind most is the race at the very first episode. The heroes were told that they had to find a secure location, change into their costumes and reach a finish line in the best time to win. What they were not told was that the race didn't actually matter. Just before the finish line, they placed a girl asking loudly where her mother was. The heroes who would really win the challenge would be the ones that put the race aside to help her. Only two heroes did, as I recall, going by the names of Fat Momma and Major Victory.
I remember almost exclusively tuning in to watch Major Victory. He was almost like a non-asshole Zap Branigan. He devoured entire sets full of scenery with a performance so hammy that Vincent Price would tell him to tone it down a notch.
Each show was like that. There was a challenge that wasn't really a challenge, but a secret test to see if the contestants were really heroes, whether it be their willingness to put aside their goals for others, protecting their secret identity, or just being honest with each other. It was a reality show, yes, but it was about finding the good in people, not exploiting the laughable or creating drama through the most vulgar means.
Sadly, the show only had two seasons in the US, though I've heard something about a British version. If you ever see SyFy running reruns of it, be sure to give it a watch. I guarantee it will be worth your time.


TV4U: The decay of Family Guy

I loved Family Guy. I thought it was creative, energetic humor that didn't constrain itself to things like practical sense or formula. Of course, you can argue that it was a Simpsons clone, and you would not be entirely wrong, but when I was in High School, Family Guy was kind of animated comedies.

I find that either one of two things is happening now though: either I'm getting older, and the Family Guy of the past just has a nostalgic ring to it, or that the show itself has gotten substantially worse. Of course, there is nothing one can say about nostalgia in the sense of an argument. Nostalgia is just the rose-colored glasses that tint our past, and nothing can really be said outside of that. So I will try to keep my reasoning in the latter possibility, and just look at what has changed about the show.

1: Characters.
As with any show that doesn't have an overarching narrative, the characters have to carry a lot of the burden of keeping things interesting. You didn't watch the episode of Meg working for the paper because it was a high school girl in the paper, you watched it because it was a character you knew and enjoyed put in a new situation.
So let's start off with Meg. Does she do anything anymore? Meg was supposed to be the most understandable character of the show. Sure, we all laughed when she got rejected, and no one liked her for seemingly no reason, but that's how a lot of people (especially girls) have felt at one point or another. It was funny because we went "oh, I know what that's like." They even started doing a good thing, where she became more self-assertive and abrasive with her often neglectful family.
Then she just kind of...faded out, only to be brought back as the butt of all jokes. Because, you know, people can't handle development and character, they just want to go "hur hur, it's funny because we hate her." And while we're on the subject of one dimensional characters...
I will say nothing on the issue of homosexual politics, but if I was of that persuasion, I would be straight up insulted by the way that Seth MacFarlane portrays gay people. For someone so obsessed with pushing the liberal agenda (more on that later) he kind of sort of utterly fails at it. Stewie started off as a mad, homicidal baby who was never taken seriously do to his age. It was hilarious. Now...he's gay. That's it. 90% of the time that is the only actual character trait he shows. I have the same beef with the neighbors in "American Dad." It is as though they can have no other sense of self outside of their sexuality. Real gay people, like say Neil Patrick Harris, are not like this. Yes, it is a part of their lives, but not every single decision they make or word they say comes back to it, and assuming that they are so one-dimensional is almost a higher insult than most things.
For the rest of the major characters: Peter has just gone full-retard, usually not even learning from his mistakes, Chris is just brain dead and like Meg has lost his interesting character development (his passion for art) and Lois has gone from the voice of reason to a just plain bitch. We will get to Brian in a moment.
Minor characters have also suffered greatly. Quagmire remains mostly unchanged, but Joe is now just pissed off all the time, Cleveland has his own show, and most others were one-joke props to begin with.
2: MacFarlane himself.
I know that most of these problems can be traced back here, but I feel that this deserves a special mention. MacFarlane has sadly seemed to have taken the road that George Lucas (and to a lesser extent, Stephen Moffat, but more on that in another article) have taken. All three of them NEED someone to tell them no sometimes. Sadly, once they became popular enough, or gained enough power, no one was able to do that. The best Family Guy came when MacFarlane had someone to answer to. Granted, he needed the right kind of person who would let him explore, but he still needed someone to say NO when he strayed too far. Now, he is too successful to be argued with, and that is when many an art dies. People have great ideas, but those ideas often need to be tempered by co-workers or superiors. Once you've risen above that, well, you're going to make mistakes, and no one will have the balls to point them out.
1: The textbook liberal agenda.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: Brian believes in a liberal cause. Another character doesn't. By the end of the show, the conservative character has realized how foolish they've been and concede that Brian was right the whole time.
That should sound familiar, as it's essentially the crux of Brian's character nowadays. Having a message is fine, but MacFarlane will often go the worst, most insulting route imaginable to get his point across. If there's a debate, you can put money on the conservative side being portrayed as morally bankrupt, grossly incompetent, or downright sadistically moronic. There was a brief abortion debate in one episode where the pro-life argument was given by a woman who literally spoke with a speech retardation.
Screw. You.
I don't care if you're pro-choice, or whatever side of any argument you're on. In the name of progress and reason, you do NOT portray everyone who doesn't agree with you like this. That is not enlightened thinking, that is not being the reasonable one, this is straight up, unfiltered propaganda, and I could rant about it for pages.
Another thing I could rant about is the stance on religion. I will hold my own religious views, because this site is not supposed to be about it, but McFarlane has a tendency for portraying religious followers as even worse than standard conservatives. For the sake of this show, being religious equals being a brainwashed, dogmatic zombie.
Grow the hell up.
A lot of people believe in religion. Good, honest, self-thinking people who believe in a greater power than themselves, and don't just take every word of any scripture for granted. You do not get to just throw a blanket stereotype on all of them like this, and still take yourself seriously.
That's probably what annoys me the most about the preaching. It halts the jokes and starts taking itself seriously, like MacFarlane is going to teach you the right way of thinking. You are a cartoonist MacFarlane. You wrote an entire episode based around "The Bird is the Word." You are welcome to your opinions, you are even more than welcome to express them. When you take it upon yourself to go out of your way to insult anyone who opposes you, however, you cross a line.

And that's why my current favorite animated show is Archer.