Stuff We Like This Week: July 31 Edition

Stuff We Like This Week: July 31 Edition

Jul 31

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In an effort to combat our occasional…okay, okay, near-constant negativity, we give you a regular feature full of nothing but love — Stuff We Like This Week. Appearing every Friday, SWLTW will recap the things that have set our little nerdly hearts aflame within the past seven days.

Matt: I’m the first one in, so I get to put up the pic, which explains why the Boss is glancing suspiciously in your direction from our geeky website.

But this has been a Springsteen week for me; after getting tickets last Friday to his tour stop down here in Florida in September, I’ve been slowly coming to the realization that I will be seeing Broooooce again, and I am excited. This will be my fourth Springsteen show…well, fifth if you count the songs he did at the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame celebration concert I saw in Cleveland well over ten years ago, a barely-contained tear through “Shake Rattle & Roll,” a backing gig for Jerry Lee Lewis on a few tunes, and “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” (This was during his Tom Joad phase. Some of us believed he would never rock again, so it was a Big Deal.)

A thread title on the big Springsteen message board where I sometimes lurk asked this morning, “Are we like those Star Trek people?” Here’s the answer, Anonymous Poster: We absolutely are. Boss fans — hell, most fandoms I’ve encountered or participated in over the years — are basically Trekkies in better clothes. I pore over my mp3 collection of Springsteen bootlegs and outtakes with all the loving care I have bestowed upon episodes of the classic Trek series. I’ve traveled significant distances to watch both the E Street Band and Leonard Nimoy perform live. And I’d put Shatner straight up against the Boss in a rock vocals throwdown.

In other words, we’re all geeks for something.

Sarah: This week, I like that I have a friend like Chris Stewart. Chris is a fellow Alert Nerd and, like, the #1 Ghostbusters fan on the internet. He’s also the type of pal who, after hearing you bitch about the fact that there seem to be no Marvel Girl for Girls tees in existence, will MAKE YOU ONE. And not just any old one, but the very one you wanted. He will also make the essential variant version. He is basically the greatest. And (plug plug plug!) he has many other fabulous designs. Chris and I met ten years ago, thanks to the internet. Hooray for long-lasting geek friendships that lead to kick-ass nerd fashion.

Jeff: This week I found out that my comic shop is closing. I’ve been shopping at The Unknown in Scranton, PA for about a decade and, while I do frequent other shops from time to time (or use Heavyink), it’s The Unknown that I go to every week. While I’d been back ‘in’ the comics hobby since my sophomore year of undergrad, it wasn’t until a little later when I went to grad school, that I got immersed into shared universes and superheroes again. I blame the shop being just across the street from campus. I blame my freshmen for not showing up during my office hours.

I’ll always remember the shop fondly. Over the years, I’ve watched Eric’s (the owner’s) kids grow up into tiny gamers and comic geeks (his daughter is a massive Gail Simone fan, something that we geek out together over when a new Secret Six or Wonder Woman comes out). I ran a particularly troubled game of Aberrant at one of the tables in the store and played in an inspired Star Wars d20 game in which several things were airlocked before Laura Roslin made it awesome. I flirted with re-entering the world of Magic: the Gathering there a few times, though they’ve never stuck. Most of all, I found a community of engaged, non-creepy fans of both genders to talk and laugh and game with, and that’s not something that I’m likely to find again anytime soon. The Unknown is open until the end of August, and once its doors are closed, the local gaming and comics community will have lost something very special.

Chris: I can feel the wind shifting at Twitter, and thought I’m not 100% certain, I think it’s for the better. “What is Twitter?” is something everyone has to answer for themselves and it’s not for everyone, by any means. People ask me, should I blog/tweet/podcast, etc and I say the same thing. Have you got something to say? Then yes, go for it. If you don’t, don’t.

The big mistaken assumption people make about Twitter, the one that is Twitter’s brand marketing kryptonite, is that people thing it’s about the mundane. Jerry, at Penny Arcade, who joined Twitter before I did (as did Sarah, Matt, and Jeff – I was an early adopter, but not bleeding edge) and his cohort were one of the first to illustrate, literally, this misunderstanding.

Twitter isn’t about listening to the masses natter on about nothing. And it’s not an RPG grind to get the most followers – another misunderstanding that drives me mad, and has spawned a host of third-party auto-follow web applications. Twitter is about picking the nattering you want to hear. That may just be your friends and family, an option common to Twitter notables, who cannot physically press buttons fast enough to counter-follow people, and who don’t wish their own follow-stream to be a blur of posts from people they don’t know.

It is essentially the balance between email and chat. It’s the “I’ll get back to it when I can” of email, with the immediacy of chat. And it’s this balance that lets up open the digital throttle a bit, and bring in a little extra info. Follow the musings of a favorite comedian, add a news stream, etc. Perfect.

I feel sorry for those that are doing this as a grind – they will burn out on Twitter eventually, as they’re undermining the experience for themselves. They may have 1000 followers, but how many of them are really listening?

Does any of this sound positive? This is things we like, and I’m really liking Twitter – it’s just that I’ve been thinking a lot about what-it-all-means. Mostly because I’m pondering something I might try with it. Stay tuned.

If they can just keep out the spam-accounts, it’d be downright perfect. I’m sure those women are nice, but I neither need to see their naked pictures or hear about their top ten selling tips.

6 comments

  1. Bruce and Marvel Girl! You guys are in my brain!

    I have a T-shirt with ‘Born to Run’ lyrics on it that I tend to wear to comic cons. I’m not sure if it’s a “really, I’m cooler than this, I like the rock n’ roll music too!” thing or an acknowledgement that we’re all geeks for something. More likely the latter. And seriously, the first person I ever saw use the word ‘fandom’ outside the Internet was Nick Hornby.

  2. (posted too soon) — and he was talking about music and soccer.

  3. Ana

    Oh, I totally totally agree about The Boss. I saw him for the first time, a couple of weeks ago in London and OMG best.concert.ever. I have to say, the first time I too said, Brooooooooooooce, I sort of cried. So did my partner. We may have cried again when he finished the show after playing for THREE HOURS NON STOP with Dancing in the Dark.
    Yeah, one of the best nights of my life.

  4. Matt

    that’s so cool Ana! It’s almost like a spiritual experience for me; I cannot wait to have it again.

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