Written by Zeke Perez Jr.
We all have that football team we love to hate. Maybe the team you hate has fans who dress up in goofy black and silver costumes. Maybe the team you hate is from the far Northeastern region of the United States; the screeches of its smug, unrelenting fans echoing throughout the nation. No matter who it is for you, everyone has at least one team that plays the villain. Now…I’m taking the idea of a villainous football team quite literally.
Below, I’ve chosen a nefarious squad of the biggest and baddest Marvel and D.C. supervillains to fill out a football roster. They are matched to their respective positions based on their skills, strengths, and intangibles. You think you’ve seen some tough, mean football players before? Wait until you see this team!
Offense & Head Coach
Quarterback: Bullseye - I’ve seen this guy kill folks by throwing paper clips with alarming speed and accuracy. Might need to take a little zip off of his throws, but he’ll put the ball where it needs to be.
Running Back: Reverse Flash - Upon hearing that the Superheroes were trotting out The Flash, the Villains had to counter with Reverse Flash. Brings that same blistering speed to the table.
Fullback: Juggernaut - An unstoppable force. Once he gets going, he’s hard to bring down. Excellent for converting in short-yardage situations.
Wide Receiver: Doctor Octopus - He’s got good hands. Lots of them. Should be able to haul in passes from all angles.
Wide Receiver: Loki - Deceptive speed. Manipulative moves. Can cast thoughts to let his QB know if he’s open. Might fool his opponents by shapeshifting into a member of the defense or a ref. Covers the field well; seemingly in multiple places at once.
Tight End: Sandman - Size and strength. Can hunker down and solidify if he needs to block or can get sandstormy and slip through defenders to get open for a big catch, making him an ideal two-way TE. Roster risk, as he will need to be subbed out for rainy or snowy games.
Left Tackle: Rhino - Big, athletic, and fast. Can push the defensive line back with ease. Needs to win the battle right off the snap, however, as his lack of agility and poor turning radius can cause him to miss his target and get beat.
Left Guard: The Blob - So big he has his own gravitational field. Essentially immovable. Provides great interior protection and is a key piece of the o-line.
Center: Bane - The perfect balance of smarts and strength. Centers need to be able to scope out the defense’s alignment and adjust accordingly. Bane is cunning and strategic, so he should be able to do that well. Size allows him to neutralize the nose tackle. Big hands, so snapping the ball won’t be a problem.
Right Guard: Abomination - Hulk-like size, strength, and speed. Very durable. He rounds out a very impressive and capable interior offensive line.
Right Tackle: Apocalypse - Has total control over the molecules in his body, allowing him to bend and shape his body as needed. That time of flexibility will come in handy for protecting the right side of the line.
Head Coach: Thanos - Who wouldn’t want a head coach who is essentially an all-knowing super genius? With vast knowledge of many universes, Thanos will create the ultimate playbook. His past in combat brings scrappiness and fire to the leadership role. As a bonus, he’ll probably cruise around the sidelines
Defense / Special Teams
Left Defensive End: Killer Croc - One of two ferocious predators on the line, along with King Shark. Locks onto the QB’s scent and pursues him with superhuman reflexes and speed.
Defensive Tackle: Kingpin - Weighing in at 450 pounds, he’s a sturdy component and is sure to slow the opposing run game. Ruthless demeanor and strength provide him the added benefit of a pass-rush upside. If he gives up a big play, you can be sure he will consider that a personal affront and will work to correct his mistakes by punishing the ball carrier.
Defensive Tackle: Gorilla Grodd - Can’t go wrong when you have a 600 pound beast clogging the middle. Another super strong animal along the villains’ defensive line. Not just brawn, but brains too. He and Kingpin alone account for half a ton of run stoppage.
Right Defensive End: King Shark - Holds down the other end of the line with his aquatic predator partner, Killer Croc. Speedy and physical; circles the proverbial waters when he smells blood.
Left Outside Linebacker: Sabretooth - Animalistic senses that make for an ideal linebacker. Uses his super hearing to listen in to the offense’s huddle. Enhanced reflexes aid his ability to stalk and literally pounce on the ball carrier.
Middle Linebacker: Ultron - Flight, subsonic speed, and intellect. Makes a good, agile defender. Can calculate how to approach each play very quickly. Reads opposing offenses instantaneously. If he shows up in an Adamantium shell…watch out!
Right Outside Linebacker: Darkseid - Standing at 8’9” and weighing in at just under 2000 pounds, Darkseid has a prototypical linebacker frame. Can easily overpower any opponent. Legality of Omega Beams is in question.
Cornerback: Green Goblin - Fast and agile cruising around the field on the ‘Goblin Glider’; should find good routes to the ball on that apparatus. Time will tell if he draws pass interference penalties from tossing ‘Pumpkin Bombs’.
Cornerback: Hobgoblin - Hobgoblin and his partner Green Goblin make a dynamic duo. They’ve put their rivalry aside to patrol the secondary, locking down receivers from their glider. Both have great range
Free Safety: Doctor Doom - The FS has one of the most important roles on the defensive side of the ball. A FS must sit back in coverage, observe the play unfolding, and be smart enough to react accordingly, monitoring and pursuing receivers, tight ends, running backs, and even the QB. Doom is a genius and will serve as a worthy last line of defense. His armor allows for crushing hits.
Strong Safety: Tombstone - Rock-solid, merciless, hard-hitting safety. Plus, he joins Denver Bronco great Rich ‘Tombstone’ Jackson in sharing an awesome/intimidating football nickname.
Kicker: Deadshot - Superhuman accuracy. A guy who ‘never misses his shot’ is the kind of guy you want making kicks.
Punter: Calendar Man - Nobody cares about punters. Nobody cares about Calendar Man, except me. Good fit.
Menacing and powerful, the Villains should prove to be worthy foes to the Superheroes. Do they have what it takes to win when it matters? Or will they find a way to be thwarted, as they often are? Who has the better team on paper? Let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter (@NerdsThatZeke). Stay tuned for Twitter posts and polls matching up players from each team to see who comes out on top!
Written by Zeke Perez Jr.
Football season is well underway, and with that, so is fantasy football. As many have stated, fantasy football toes the line between nerdiness and sports fanaticism. Assembling the best team, meticulously comparing stats, strategizing for the fictional victory; it’s no different than D&D in some ways. So I’m going to embrace the nerdiness! Maybe even take it a step further. I’m creating a fantasy team of my own; one comprised of superheroes.
NFL players are almost heroic in their own right. They’ve got abilities that the average human does not. They can run faster, lift more, and hit harder. They display feats of great acrobatics regularly. But what if the players all had actual superpowers? Below, I’ve put together a football roster composed of the best and boldest Marvel and D.C. heroes. They are matched to their respective positions based on their skills, strengths, and intangibles. Teams don’t get more superheroic than this one.
Hero team… ASSEMBLE!
Offense / Head Coach
Quarterback: Captain America - Natural leader. Raw talent and athleticism. Has an interesting side-arm throw, almost as if he’s tossing a shield, but great QB skills despite the windup.
Running Back: Flash - Blistering speed. 40 yard dash time at the combine was off the charts. It’s almost as though he runs faster than time itself.
Fullback: Luke Cage - He has so much power, man! Very hard to bring down; matches up well with defenders. Durable player thanks to his dense skin. Can withstand plenty of hits.
Wide Receiver: Mr. Fantastic - Size is valuable in a wide receiver and he has plenty to spare. Stretches out to make big plays. There shouldn’t be many (or any) passes that aren’t in his range…
Wide Receiver: Wonder Woman - A true athlete; she can do it all! Well balanced. Her hand-to-hand combat skills are useful for fighting off coverage at the line. From there, she has immense speed and power to get up field. Known to lasso in passes, left and right.
Tight End: Martian Manhunter - Like a Swiss army knife in terms of his powers and abilities. His superhuman strength, durability, and invisibility should come in handy as a blocker, while his flight and telekinesis benefit him when receiving. Shape-shifting is an asset in either role.
Left Tackle: Colossus - An impenetrable force on the line’s blindside. Very level-headed and composed, reducing the risk of unnecessary penalties. Provides the type of armor-like defense the QB needs.
Left Guard: Thing - Kicks off the team’s nasty interior offensive line, a.k.a. ‘The Thing Trio’. Brings rock-solid power to the left side. Clobbers defensive linemen when the time is right.
Center: Man-Thing - Definitely got some brains in there, as he was formerly a biochemist. Pair that with his strength and durability and you’ve got yourself a fine center.
Right Guard: Swamp Thing - Another essentially immovable mass on the line. His strength is tied into his connection to the Earth, so when he has the time to connect with the football field, he’ll definitely hold things down.
Right Tackle: Cyborg - His mechanically-enhanced metallic body makes him impervious to chop moves and other maneuvers defensive lineman might use against him.
Head Coach: Nick Fury - Has an uncanny ability to bring folks together. Fury will excel at unifying this team of heroes.
Defense / Special Teams
Left Defensive End: Black Widow - On the small side for a DE, but has the sort of stealthy finesse moves coming off the edge that will allow her to slip in the backfield easily. Can be lethal sneaking up on the QB’s blindside.
Defensive Tackle: Hulk - You’ve surely heard a lineman referred to as ‘hulking’ before. Well, here you go. No trouble stopping things at the line. Comes with major pass-rush upside too. Will likely get angrier as the game goes on, only leading to more carnage.
Defensive Tackle: She-Hulk - See above, but with more mental and emotional stability.
Right Defensive Tackle: Thor - Skilled at combat, he can fight off and maneuver past offensive linemen to bring the hammer down on the quarterback. After tearing through an army of Frost Giants, going one-on-one with a lineman should come easy.
Left Outside Linebacker: Iron Man - Powerful and speedy with great awareness. J.A.R.V.I.S. will help him diagnose and anticipate the play early, allowing him to decide in a split-second whether to rush or drop back into coverage. Can fire repulsor rays at the ballcarrier.
Middle Linebacker: Superman - His well-rounded abilities lend him to the MLB position. Seriously, what can’t he do? Has size, superhuman strength, speed, ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Mix in great senses, you’ve got a great quarterback of the defense.
Right Outside Linebacker: Batman - Undrafted due to his lack of powers, Batman compensates with exceptional athletic prowess. Seems to have exactly what is needed at the right moment.
Cornerback: Spider-Man - Whether in man or zone coverage, his Spidey-senses allow for great play recognition and reaction time to the ball. Web shooters can snatch the ball away in the rare instances that he does get beat by his receiver.
Cornerback: Silver Surfer - Swift and agile. Ability to glide around the field and cover opposing wideouts. His sharpened senses allow him to detect objects from lightyears away, so 10 or 20 yards should be no problem. Full field coverage ability.
Free Safety: Daredevil - Heightened senses make him a great fit at the FS position. Daredevil compensates for his visual impairments with an ability to anticipate the ball. Always one step ahead of his opponents, The Man Without Fear is a prototypical ‘ball hawk’ safety, but he can lay down a solid tackle too.
Strong Safety: Punisher - Safeties are known for big hits. The Punisher tends to have one thing on his mind: doling out pain. Won’t stop until he brings the ball carrier down. Based on their past relationships, the team will need to monitor how Punisher and Daredevil work together in the secondary; could be volatile.
Kicker: Green Arrow - Extremely accurate. Although his skills are in archery, they were honed through years of practice. Mix a little effort with his martial arts background and he should have a strong enough leg to excel as a kicker.
Punter: Stan Lee - Stan’s gotta make a cameo somewhere! Why not let him punt?
Might. Bravery. Justice. And a powerhouse football team. It was hard to narrow down, and there are plenty of folks who would make the roster of 53, but I feel confident in my starters. What do you think? Anyone you would’ve swapped out? Is Stan Lee a glaring weakness that can’t be overcome? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@NerdsThatZeke).
Also, every superhero needs a villain…it stands to reason then that every superhero football team needs a rival team comprised of villains. Stay tuned for my all-bad-guy football team, coming soon on NerdsThatGeek.com!
Written by Shae Rufe
There are very few things I love in this world more than I love Halloween. It’s my Christmas. Which sounds so weird to say, right? I truly love this holiday and all it has to offer. That being said, many of you may be going to a party soon, or throwing one, and with that, I bring you, some easy and fun Halloween ideas. Why? Why not!
If you’re like me, sometimes you forget that these parties you’re throwing require food. I’ve got a few quick tricks to take any party from frightfully dull, to terrifyingly tasty. Okay, that was a bit cheesy. So! You’re having a party, guests are arriving, what do you do? They’ll want something to nibble on. Go to the store, grab some pre-made guacamole, a little pumpkin, and some tin foil. Carve that pumpkin into a tiny jack-o-lantern. Line a baking sheet with tin foil, set your newly, adorable baby carved pumpkin on the tray, and place that guacamole around. What’s more fun than dipping your chip into ‘pumpkin barf’? Nothing. I’ve done this before, and it is pretty tasty and makes for good conversation.
If you have a bit more time before the party starts, or you’ve been invited to something requiring some food, this is a treat I admittedly have stolen from my mom. Make (or buy) deviled eggs. Season to your liking; place an olive on top and boom! Eyeballs. Is it a cheat? Yes. Is it tasty? Yes. Am I making them this year? No, mostly because I am allergic to eggs and would really just eat the entire batch myself. Another fun treat is to make homemade caramel or candied apples. Upside, they’re tasty. Downside, they’re messy to make and take a bit of time. So, slice some apples, melt some caramel (or make your own sauce) and you have that fun festive treat without having to dip entire apples into caramel. Plus, some people may not even like caramel apples (Monsters!).
But, my number one Halloween go to is candy. It’s simple! A bag of candy goes a long way, and who doesn’t love candy!? It’s Halloween, after all, and candy can be found anywhere. So, we’ve settled food, what about costumes? There’s always Spirit or any store around selling costumes. But I’ve got a few quick and easy ideas that are cost effective and you most likely have in your closet.
Throw on a plaid shirt, a scarf, some yoga pants or skinny jeans, and some fake glasses and you are now, officially, a Hipster for Halloween. Likewise, if you have some converse and any jeans to go with any college endorsed jacket, you can now be a college student. I have to say, Halloween is amazing, but I had a tough time coming up with an idea of what to dress as this year. A costume can be as intricate or as simple as you’d like. Personally, I’ll wear a costume for a bit and then just change into my PJ’s. It’s Halloween! It doesn’t matter what you wear, all that matters is that you have fun.
And eat Candy.
Written by Shae Rufe
When you hear the word Sidekick your mind instantly goes to what? For me, it’s Robin from Batman, why? Because he was the first sidekick I was ever really exposed to. Well, that and that late 90’s early 2000’s flip phone thing. Yeah, you all know what I’m talking about. We all wanted one, but it was really expensive at the time, and to top it all off, it was the quintessential phone for texting. Enough about phones that no longer exist!
Sidekicks taught me a great deal in life….while they were always playing second fiddle, they were a critical part to the hero's success. Sidekicks never were in the spotlight solo, in fact they hardly got credit for anything, really. That’s probably why a lot of them grew up to become their own badass heroes. Case and point, Robin became Nightwing, and I know, by now, how much you all know of my love for him. Yes, it seems that sidekicks eventually tire of living in their mentor's shadow. But, before they can get their own cool names, they have to be a tagalong. Sidekicks always know how to cause trouble, or get into trouble. Robin saw his fair share of kidnappings and whatnot. Jason Todd was even murdered, ish…so really, the life of a sidekick isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Regardless of the storyline, a sidekick serves an important purpose. He, or she, helps to balance out the hero.
Robin made Batman less murder-y. Is that a thing? It is now. In a way, he also gave Batman more of a grounding. Robin was also there to have his own belt of tricks and knew how to fight and save people. Maybe not as well as Batman, but hey, he held his own. Or did he? That’s really a matter of interpretation. Being a sidekick, though, means corny one-liners and snarky remarks. By this logic, I’m the perfect sidekick. Just kidding, I work alone…from time to time the sidekick has to save the hero, or be saved, or…be brainwashed into trying to kill the hero…which isn’t cool, but also awesome.
Sidekicks aren’t always human either, as Krypto the Superdog shows us. He got his own cartoon series for a bit there…which, I’m not sure how animals as sidekicks works, but they end up working out pretty well because many a hero has one. A sidekick can also not be directly involved in the action, like Alfred or the Oracle. Either way, a Sidekick's main job is to help the hero no matter what…sometimes that’s costly. Sometimes it means wearing spandex, and other times it just means looking cool. Like I said before though, sidekicks eventually grow up and many become their own heroes.
The true meaning of a sidekick is that bond between mentor and mentee. Or, maybe just hero and random kid that totally wanted to be a hero too. Or super-powered dog. From needing rescuing, grounding heroes, and giving them a little help, to even saving them in ways we readers/viewers don’t even know. The sidekick holds many roles and many things can be learned from them. The best thing, however, is that sidekick isn’t a demeaning position. It means you are part of a team. Part of something bigger, and you’re generally saving the world with your best friend. Really? What’s more fun than that? Still, the role of a sidekick shouldn’t be discounted. Even villains have them. Look at Harley? She’s a tad more popular than the Joker nowadays. But she’s another blog waiting to happen…
Written by Shae Rufe
Are you guys feeling a little stressed out lately? I know I am. I’ve seen many a friend struggling with it too. It’s like, between work, and/or school, and/or life it’s all piling up, right? I’m seriously starting to wonder about my life choices…so! I’ve got a few ways to help us all wind down, and since we’re already thinking about the weekend, let’s focus on relaxing and being our nerdy selves.
The first thing I always want to run to when I’m not feeling myself is food. Why? Guys! Food is delicious. I am Italian and a few other things, and it all boils down to my genetics just love food. Who doesn’t love food. It tastes great. And looks pretty. Unless I’m the one cooking, and then it doesn’t. But Shae, (you say) how can food be nerdy?! How can it NOT be nerdy. We’re all secretly foodies. It’s fact, I’ve decided it. Now, one of my favorite foods lately is something a friend of mine from childhood used to make. She called them Cheese-toasties. I’m pretty sure there’s more to this than my modern interpretation, but it’s something she got from her mom, and I stole, because stealing is only illegal if you get caught. So, you take bread, I prefer sourdough, you butter it, put your favorite cheese on top, which is provolone for me, and you put it in the toaster oven or oven, until the cheese is bubbly, but not browning. Then you get some tea, curl up in your PJ’s with your toast and put on your favorite Doctor Who episode.
Speaking of Doctor Who, you could totally make yourself some Fish Fingers and Custard, but let’s just not, because they’re kind of not appealing together. You could, however, have custard and a wafer, cookie, or biscuit, that’s acceptable. Of course, if it’s Doctor Who, you could also get jellybeans as a snack, but I also prefer bananas and peanut butter. Because, really, you should always bring a banana to the party. Just don’t bring pears, though, that’s not cool. Also, guys, if we’re on the topic of food, for just a second, I have to share that whenever I’m watching The Walking Dead, I feel hungry. I don’t know if that’s normal or not. I feel I need to nibble while this show is on, and some part of me thinks that I might be crazy.
Alright, so we’ve got our snack, and tea, and Doctor Who, but maybe we’re feeling just a bit more…I don’t know. Social? Being with friends is a great way to de-stress and hey, friends like to play games. Friends, like myself, like to get together and play Munchkin. What a better evening then plotting deviously against all your friends to win at this fantastical card game. It’s plotting. It’s scheming. And above all, it’s totally back stabbing. But, in a fun, friendly, environment. Want to be more active? Guys, listen up. Superhero laser-tag. Is that a real thing? I just made it up, so yes. Put on your favorite Superhero shirt, divide into teams, and go shoot each other with lasers. It’s a great way to blow off some steam. Really, if you want to cosplay for that, you can, but remember, you’re going to be running around, so choose your cosplay wisely.
When all else fails, and only a few of you want to get together, I say order a pizza, pop in your favorite nerd movie, mute the TV, and totally mad-lib it. Make up the words and match it to the character on screen. It’s hilariously fun, and really, it tests just how much you’ve watched that movie. I’m not saying I could quote a few of them from start to finish, I’m just saying, I probably could. After all, being stressed about life isn’t fun. We need to make time for us. And of course, I mean, there’s always drinking games nerdy edition, but that somehow doesn’t work so great for lightweights like myself. Either way, these are just some of my ideas, feel free to share yours in the comment field below or on our Twitter or Facebook, I'd love to hear what you all do to unwind!
Written by Shae Rufe
When it comes to all things geeky and nerdy, there has always been a push from our culture. We’ve never been quite quiet when it comes to social equality. It hit me, the other day; just how important comics and geekdom are to society, and how there has been a calling from our united nerdiness to make things equal. From the very beginning, comics were something that was not really the most popular thing around. However, their devoted fans have been growing into the billions as time has gone on. So many of us flock to comics for so many different reasons, yet we all have one common ground. We love them. Comics have changed and shaped the world just as much as any other literature. But, we’ll come back to that in a moment. Sci-Fi in general has been changing the world as we know it for decades. Take Star Trek for instance. It was here, that we saw the first interracial kiss on live television. A simple kiss between Kirk and Uhura changed the world. Whether we knew it at the time, or not, it is hard to dispute that things have been ever moving forward. We nerds are anything but passive. Well, you know what I mean.
The social issues of the times are always reflected in the writings of any literary device. Star Trek pushed the boundaries of society at a time when interracial relationships were frowned upon. Later, X-Men would tackle in-equality in their own unique way. Themes have always been a powerful force in the written world. The comic world is no different. Years later, X-Men would be the first comic to showcase an interracial mutant, gay, couple getting married on the very cover of an issue. I remember buying that comic the day I saw it, and I have never been prouder. Yes, there have been many books and comics to feature homosexual couples, but none of them had gotten married. It’s strange to think, but as we progress further and further, these movements are still happening.
That once controversial episode of Star Trek, and what it stood for are not forgotten. Instead, the nerd community is taking the same route with other media forums to fight the newest social front. As someone who doesn’t exactly fit the societal role of ‘norm’, it is important to me to see various medias I love fight the fight against inequality. While I never imagined in my fondest dreams I would one day see characters of the same gender kissing in a comic, that day has come, we moved forward, love won.
Characters such as the Black Canary on Arrow may be seen as pushy or bold, but to those who aren’t slotted in the hetero-normaty that society thinks we should fit into, she is a symbol. The whole point is to show that love is love. Love doesn’t know gender, rules, or anything like that. Love knows love. Having bi, gay, and lesbian characters in a world of straight ones is important because we all search for that common ground. Comics have been a beacon to outsiders for so long, it only seems fitting that they adapt as we change and grow.
As such, more and more shows and movies have begun to do the same thing. Paving the way to show that normal isn’t what society says, but rather to show there is no normal or we’re all normal regardless. A person’s sexual identity shouldn’t be any more of an oddity than hair color. Pushing social boundaries to the limit…most importantly, giving those of us who do not fit into a societal norm, a place to call home. Now, that is truly the most important thing about our geeky family, and why our favorite comics, shows and stories have to keep pushing forward to inspire us all to be a better people through and through.
Written by Shae Rufe
I’ve wanted to rant about this for a while, because why not? Guys, we’re friends…probably best friends. Is that true? Yes, it is. I have determined that we here at Nerds That Geek are a community of best friends that share our thoughts openly. And if you don’t agree with me, you’re wrong. Anyway, in my writing and reading journeys I’ve always passionately loved the love story. Maybe it’s because I love, love! I do. I’m in love with love. Not all love stories are cheesy romance novels, that can be found pretty much anywhere. Granted, those little novels have their own fans, I’m not knocking them.
I prefer my love stories to have plot. Or maybe I like my stories with love? I’m not entirely sure which. One thing I do know is I hate love triangles. I’m sure there are some of you out there that like them, that’s totally cool, for me, I just…come on. It’s not realistic. The Hunger Games was a great story concept. I loved the world and struggle, and actually liked Katniss, but I couldn’t stand the love triangle between her, Peeta and Gale. There was no call for it, in my opinion. I find love triangles to be useless and speaks to the lack of character development. All right, stepping off my soap box now, let’s just talk about the various types of love stories.
I’d also like to point out, that love isn’t always romantic. Harry Potter showed us many types of love, and really, that was pretty awesome. The dynamics between characters within that realm were something I admired. Especially the love Fred and George had for one another. Sibling love, is a powerful thing. Let’s face it, many of us have siblings, and regardless of what they do, we almost always will love them. Supernatural is a great example too, as we see not just Sam and Dean’s brotherly love for one another, but they build a family. After all, not all blood is family and not all family is blood. It’s a pretty awesome message, if you ask me. Frozen, of course, brought forth the power of sisterly love. Let me say, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my little sister…
Of course, I really love the stories where someone meets someone else and they fall in love. Because, I’m a romantic at heart. It’s not about smut, it’s about the journey these characters take. The Fault in Our Stars is, admittedly, a sad movie. Like, hella sad. But, it’s really cute in the love story it tells. Girl meets boy, they’re both sick, they both fall for each other anyway, even though the girl is reluctant…and then sad things happen. P.S. I Love You is another favorite, because it shows the loss of love and how even after someone dies, that love stays strong.
Romantic comedies are a favorite of mine. No Strings Attached is a favorite because it has all those elements we love. Girl meets guy, they fall into a friends-with-benefits type situation, he falls for her, she’s got commitment issues, and in the non-traditional romantic comedy sense, she screws things up with him. It’s our leading lady who has to make things right for a change. Regardless of the situation, love stories aren’t for everyone. There are elements about these types of stories that not everyone likes, and it’s not always about the sex. Let’s face it, even our beloved superheroes have their love stories. Except Batman…he’s not allowed to be happy. He’s married to justice.
Written by Shae Rufe
Within media, all types, I find it is very important to see gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transgender characters. Mostly because, well, there are gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transgender people that enjoy everything pop culture has to offer.
The whole point of the shows we watch, the comics and books we read, and the games we play, is that we form a community of sorts. Being able to belong with other people is a rather huge part of why we are interested in the things we are interested in. Bonding over the ‘nerd’ or ‘geek’ factor is great, but for those like me, we don’t exactly fit in with the heterosexual norm.
Characters like Captain Jack Harkness on Torchwood have been paving the way and breaking down conventions. I use Jack because he is a perfect example of breaking that social norm. Jack is likable, he’s fun, flirty, brave, daring, and even a bit scary at times. A main character through and through, and above all, Jack doesn’t categorize his sexuality with any one word. He simply loves who, or what, ever he’s attracted to.
That’s a pretty bold statement. Doctor Who, for all its nerdy purposes, has even had a lesbian, inter-species, married couple on their show from time to time. It’s not, however, often we see non-straight characters in media formats. I say this because it’s important to non-straight people to have idols and heroes too. While there’s nothing wrong with classic hero archetypes, it’s necessary to have a wide array of characters everyone can relate to on some level.
Given many of the tragedies we have read about regarding teens committing suicide, now more than ever is it crucial to have characters like Jack Harkness. Comics especially have been breaking down social barriers with their controversial topics. Never in my lifetime did I think I would see a comic with two male characters getting married on the cover. Yet, comics (and now op have pushed from day one to not be conventional. As I explored in a previous blog.
Written by Winsome Lewis
When the slopes aren’t quite ski ready, Copper Mountain opens its doors to engage the beer thirsty and cider eager population. The Colorado Cider and Beer Circus hosted 27,000 guests with 29 breweries and cideries from local favorites to visiting Brewmasters the weekend of August 26th and 27th. Complete with a cider tasting class, a food truck, and a dog-friendly atmosphere, I, a beer lover, entered the grounds of cidery with an open mind and an open mouth (I mean, not actually because bugs, but you get what I’m saying).
Not well-versed in ciders, this festival was completely user-friendly for me. Each guest received a re-usable tasting glass and were released into the array of tents to explore various ciders. Most of the vendors had at least two ciders to sample, ranging from watermelon, to fall specialties (I had a great pumpkin cider from Wild Cider that will make any girl with a pumpkin spice addiction very happy), to high-hopped ciders (I didn’t know you could describe a cider as hoppy; I learned a lot), to jalapeño infusions, and berry varieties. Guests were encouraged to try as many ciders as possible, comparing sweetness, saltiness, floral hints, and that cider shimmer. Beer enthusiasts, eager to try new drinks, but maybe needing a palate break, were able to fall back on some favorite brews from Tivoli, Epic Brewing, High Hops, Grimm Brothers, Pikes Peak Brewing, and others. (This will be my only moment to discuss beer, so I’ll make it quick. Tivoli had their original recipe brew in addition to their Hoppy-Marzen, a collaboration beer with Thirst Colorado. What a delight to sample both of these beers! The original recipe is not a hard beer to drink: the German style golden lager is smooth, light, and crisp. Followed by the Hoppy-Marzen, the extra weight of the woodsy, Oktoberfest-style beer created a smooth transition from golden to brown. Both beers were excellent, leaving me wanting to refill my tasting glass multiple times. However, wanting a solid cider education, I resisted).
Backed by 80's music and small circus performers, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the festival. I felt encouraged and welcomed to try lots of different ciders. Learning my tastes and preferences for ciders was never easier as the tasting was judgment free. My experience in the drinking world has made me cautious to delve into new tastes and brews, as you are always on the lookout for the ever present 'beer snob.' Sometimes used as a self-defined term, interactions with beer snobs can be positive or negative. However, the cider snobs, the lesser known, just as indignant drinking population, are intimidating for me to interact with. The vendors and other guests were nothing to fear as the environment of easy drinking and sampling encouraged you to try something new just for the sake of taste exploration.
As a woman with a beer preference, my palate has been shaped to find wheats, hops, and clove flavors. Trying ciders with limited knowledge of the cider-brew process allowed me to sample beverages and experience flavors from a strictly sensorial perspective. I could rely on taste alone to discover what was good for me and what I wouldn’t try again. Some of my favorites were Bump and Rind from Boulder Beer, the Habanero Cider from Finn River, the Pumpkin from Wild Cider, and the Sangria Cider from the Portland Cider Company.
Colorado had a big alcohol weekend August 26th-27th and Coloradans had to choose between this Cider and Beer Circus, Tour de Fat in Fort Collins (a New Belgium Brewing Company hosted event exciting bike enthusiasts and craft beer lovers), the San Juan Brew Fest in Durango, Glendale’s Bruises and Brews Beerfest (engaging rugby fans), and the Steers and Beers Brew Fest in Colorado Springs (hosted at Antler’s Lodge complete with a mechanical bull. I don’t think I would mix my beers and bulls, but hey, that’s just me). No matter where you are in Colorado, beer is close at hand. I would highly recommend the Beer and Cider Circus for those already sold on ciders and those wanting to get out of their drinking comfort zone and take a whack at the cider life. Cheers!
Written by Shae Rufe
Lately, I've been in a bit of a funk. I think we all go through these phases. Being a human can be exhausting, but we have our escapes. One of the biggest draws to comic books, novels, games, shows, movies, and anything we throw ourselves into, is that we get to escape from our problems for just a moment. Whatever they are, whatever we're feeling, gets put on hold. Adventures are abound in the nerd realm and we can't help but crave them. I've mentioned in blogs previously how X-Men, literally, changed my life, but I don't know if I've gone in depth enough with that. I'm not saying I can relate to everyone's story, but I think we've all had a common draw to the world of geek and I think it holds different meanings for all of us.
When I was little, I didn't know much about comics or nerdy things. The nerdiest I got was watching Power Rangers and wishing I could be one. Yes, I've watched the re-runs. To this day, the Black Power Ranger is my absolute favorite, though I had a crush on the Yellow Power Ranger...I was an outcast. I was always the odd one out; nobody wanted to play with the kid who couldn't even really see. No, really, outside is a bit of a hazard for me...thankfully they make custom sunglasses now! Being the only handicapped kid I really knew, I stuck to myself a lot. Then, something magical happened. When my mom married my dad, he introduced me to a brand-new world. X-Men, the '90's cartoon, was something we'd watch together as often as it was on. While I was still an outcast, I wasn't so worried about it. You had a group of people who didn't fit in. They had different powers and were literally Mutants.
Bit more background here. My visual impairment is called Achromatopsia. It's a rare genetic mutation that affects the functions of the cones and rods inside the retina. Now, at the time. We didn't know that's what I had. Without certain testing, they gave me a misdiagnosis of Conedistrophy, which meant eventually I would go completely blind. Either way, my vision is non-correctable, and it makes life kind of a pain sometimes. Being a mutant myself, it was really the coolest thing ever to see a group of ‘mutants’ fighting evil. Each had their own power and was capable of doing some of the coolest things ever. That was the draw, right there; being a mutant wasn't bad, just different. Different wasn't bad. That was the first time in my life I knew that. Different, was just how people were; especially mutants. That pivotal first show I saw of X-Men was such a defining moment in my life, I remember it clear as day. I remember my dad telling me about every different mutant in that universe and how Wolverine was his favorite. Mine will forever be Gambit, but I have a special place in my heart for Shadowcat and Storm. The draw to Gambit was his eyes. They looked as different as mine felt. The cool explosive powers and throwing cards were just a bonus.
From there I got into more Batman and other various nerdy things. Anime was my next biggest phase, and while it all seemed fantastic, it was also getting harder to deal with life. I learned what I had at 14, and I can't tell you how big of a crushing blow it was to hear that I didn't have what they thought I had. Sure, that's good news, I'd never lose my vision. But, Achromatopsia comes with the lovely tag of no cure. No fixing it. And my vision will be the same. Despite thinking I would lose my vision someday, I have doctors and specialists telling me how there would be cures one day. How, modern medicine and science could fix everything. My biggest dream was to fly one day. My dad was in the Air Force and I thought being a Fighter Pilot would be the coolest job. I had hope. And then I was told there was nothing anyone could do.
I think we all have low points in our lives that we can't see past at the time. I know we all struggle, even now in my adult life I find it hard. But, guys, it does get better. Truly. I had the honor of meeting Stan Lee a few years ago at Dragon Con. At the time, I wanted to tell him so many things. How his work was amazing; how much I loved Marvel; how influential those franchises are because his works saved my life.
The summer of 2003 saw some things. I was a year away from graduating high school, and the teenage angst of life was in full bloom. I'd decided one night that I was just done with it all. I think we don't talk about the darkest points in our lives, really, we brush past them and pretend they never happened. I can say that I was among those growing up in a time where being a nerd and a geek were not really acceptable. It was shameful to collect Pokémon cards and watch anime, let alone read manga and/or comics. Already sticking out for being handicapped wasn't that fair either. But, there's another aspect I haven't talked about either. I guess this blog is getting very personal, but we're all friends and I'm an open book. Comics, manga, anime, and pretty much anything geeky were amazing in so many ways because it didn't matter who or what you were. You could fall into these worlds and forget it all for a bit of time. I can say, looking back, I was going through a lot of things at the time. When you're combatting internal turmoil over something you have no control over, questioning your sexuality, and just not fitting in, things tend to build up. I wasn't being myself and I think my dad knew something was wrong.
We've never talked about it, but that night in May, he took me to see X2. The sequel to a movie to a childhood cartoon and comic wasn't that appealing at 17. Yet, I went for my dad...and something clicked. I remembered how much this show had meant to me. How much I bonded with my dad over it and just what it meant to me. That movie reminded me of why I fell in love with geek culture and why I should celebrate being different, not hide. To this day, my dad and I have seen almost every X-Men and Marvel movies together. We've missed a couple, but we try really hard to see them together because it's just our thing. My dad isn't as nerdy as I am, but it's one of the things we love to share.
It sounds cheesy to say that Marvel saved my life. The truth is, it did. In a way, X-Men gave me a new life path and a strive to do things. To be like the mutants who saved people and fought bad guys. Not all mutants have cool powers, I'm one of those regular ones, but we're all special. If there's anything to be learned from X-Men it's that differences should be celebrated, not shunned. Not being like everyone else isn't bad, because really, we've all got something that makes us special. Finding our own meanings in the things we love is what being a geek is all about. While, none of us are perfect, we're perfectly awesome. Geek culture, for the most part, has always been about acceptance. There are always nay-sayers and those who like to nitpick, but for the most part, we're a group of people who love the nerdiest things. Sharing those things is even better.
I've always felt normal amongst my fellow geeks. As if I have a second home. The draw to escape into other worlds has drawn us together, but some of my deepest connections with others have been because of our common nerdy interests. I can honestly say that without stumbling blindly (this pun is intended) into the geeky world, I never would have met my best friends. I can't imagine a world without them. Who else would have lightsaber wars in the aisles of a store with me!? Who!
It's always amazed me how one simple cartoon changed my entire life. I couldn't be more thankful for X-Men or any of the other amazing shows, comics, games and so on that are out there. They've given us outcasts a place to call home. If that isn't the best thing ever, I honestly don't know what is.