Top 5 Nerd Holidays

Happy Towel Day Hot Nerd Girl

In addition to all of the traditional and national holidays printed on our calendars every year, there are other, equally as important holidays that deserve recognition.  As nerds, it is up to us to ensure that these glorious tributes and anniversaries get the attention they are due.

In honor of Towel Day, here is my list of the top 5 nerd holidays.

5. September 19th – International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Created back in 1995 by fellow Oregonian’s Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy, International Talk Like a Pirate Day is the day in which we can all…umm, talk like a pirate.  You might be wondering if this is truly a nerd holiday.  I say that only nerds would celebrate and participate in such a day and therefore, it does qualify…kind of like a Ren Faire qualifies (believe me, it does).

“But HNG, how do I celebrate this holiday?”

By dressing up like a pirate, talking like a pirate and changing your facebook language settings to “pirate.”  You can also watch pirate movies and read pirate books.  I do not recommend the following activities on Talk Like a Pirate Day:

thievin’

pillagin’

rapin’

engagin’ in general forms of debauchery unless it is between consenting adults

You may; however, drink copious amounts of rum providing you don’t get behind the wheel of your pirate ship afterwards.

4. March 14th – Pi Day

Mmmmmm....pie......

Get it? 3.14?  This holiday is definitely geared towards the math nerds and much as I appreciate their mathematical prowess, math has never been a particularly strong point of mine.  On that note, I would like to personally invite Danica McKellar to be my private math tutor.  Note: Pi Day is not to be confused with Pi Approximation Day celebrated on July 22nd (get it?)

“But HNG, how do I celebrate this holiday?”

Bake a pie and eat it (personally, my favorite way of celebrating).  You can also memorize as many decimal digits of Pi as you can and recite them for all of your friends (trust me, they will be VERY impressed).  If you’re a true math nerd, you could apply to MIT.  If you get in, they will mail your acceptance letter so that it is delivered on Pi Day (oh math nerds, they’re so funny).

3. August 12th – PC’s Birthday

Ahhh, the good ol' days

The IBM 5150 PC first went on sale on August 12, 1981.  If you’re counting, that means that this year the PC turns 30 (*sniffle* they grow up so fast).  This holiday is for all you computer nerds.  I’m a PC gal myself, but if you happen to be an Apple fan, I suppose you can celebrate Macintosh Computer Day on January 25th.  But since you wouldn’t be able to celebrate if it weren’t for the magical PC, I’m only counting August 12th on this list.  Deal with it.

“But HNG, how do I celebrate this holiday?”

By doing some long overdue computer maintenance (you know you need to).  January is technically National Clean Up Your Computer Month, but since August is about halfway through the year, it’s as good a time as any to do a little cleaning up as well.  You could also replace your PC.  I may be a PC gal, but I’m not so stubborn that I can’t admit that PC’s can, umm, be less reliable.  There, I said it.  You will never hear me say it again.  Damn you.

2. August 29th – Judgment Day

Good times worth celebrating

This holiday commemorates the day when Skynet will go online and destroy the vast majority of humanity.  Yay!!!  Why do we celebrate this day?  To remind us all that, while nerds and geeks may rule the world, we must be careful about not abusing our power lest it rise up against us.  I mean, seriously, how many movies have to be made before we realize that maaaaybe cloning people using nanobots and other crazy shit that serves no real viable purpose is probably not the best idea?  Hrrmmm?

“But HNG, how do I celebrate this holiday?”

By starting a letter writing campaign to Arnold Schwarzenegger informing him that Terminators don’t age and 64 might be a little too long in the tooth to be playing the same character he first played when he was 37.  Or, you could watch the movies.  Or you could take your kids to a playground and gaze fearfully up at the sky while watching out for a giant orange blast that will set you on fire and shred you apart until finally your bones explode.  Yup, have fun with that.

1. May 25th – Geek Pride Day AND Towel Day

Geek Pride Parade

May 25th should really be a holy day.  Perhaps a feast day for Saint Lucas and Saint Adams.

May 25th was opening day of the original Star Wars, a day that shall live on forever in geek lore.  The holiday has a Bill of Rights and, even though it’s not meant to be taken seriously, it’s full of bullshit stereotypes so I’ll only print the ones I feel should be included:

  1. The right to be even geekier

7.   The right to have all the geeky friends that you want

10. The right to show off your geekiness

11. The right to take over the world

naked towel dayMay 25th also marks Towel Day, an ode to Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  It was started in 2001 in response to Adams’ Graduation.  Why towels you ask?  Because….

“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)”

That’s why.

“But HNG, how do I celebrate this holiday?”

By carrying a towel around with you all day.  If you work in a relaxed enough environment, you can also wear pajamas and a bathrobe.  You can read the book, but don’t bother watching the movie.  If you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Are you celebrating Towel Day today?  Feel free to take a picture and put it on the facebook page!

Also, I’m thinking it might be pretty awesome to put together a nerd calendar that features these holidays and more.  Am I forgetting any?  Have one you would like to add?  If so, let me know!

Pirates of the Caribbean: it just gets stranger and stranger

Big wall o' pirates

I know a lot of people who don’t really care for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise as a whole. They thought the first one was fun and the 2nd and 3rd ones were convoluted pieces of crap. Therefore, I had a hard time finding someone who would see #4 with me. Luckily I have an awesome Mom who just happened to be visiting this weekend. We both like the films for the most part (although I take issue with parts of At Worlds End). I guess I’m just a sucker for action adventure.

On Stranger Tides is based on a novel of the same name by Tim Powers. It’s appropriately named since it is, well, a bit strange. Power’s novel prominently features voodoo, something that Disney opted to keep and force (not always successfully) into the world of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Barbossa's spiffy new duds!

I’m sure you know the basic plot, that everyone is searching for the legendary fountain of youth. It’s not really clear why everyone (especially Captain Jack Sparrow) is trying to find it. For Blackbeard (Ian McShane), it’s because he’s heard a prophecy about his death and he’s trying to escape his fate. Everyone else wants to find it for no apparent reason. We find out later why Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and the Spanish are looking for it but for Jack, it seems to just be something to do.

As for the fountain, for a secret supposedly taken to the grave by Ponce de Leon, a whole lot of people seem to know all about it. Not just it, but the rather complicated ritual you need to go through to drink from it. By the by, I’ve been to St. Augustine, Florida (PdL was supposedly the first European to set foot in Florida) so I know for a fact that Ponce died and is buried in Cuba and was not left to mummify in a ship perched up on a rock. But whatever, I’m willing to suspend belief a little.

Fun fact: Ponce de Leon wasn’t looking for the fountain of youth to give him long life…nope, he was more concerned about it curing his impotence (how is one supposed to rape and brutalize the natives if he can’t get it up, right?)

The ritual requires a mermaid’s tear which requires capturing a mermaid which requires sacrificing a whole lot of minions since mermaids apparently cross-bred with vampires somewhere along the line. They’re hot and they sing but Ariel they most certainly are not. My mom was a little disappointed by the viciousness of the mermaids and I can see why. As the daughter of a sailor, I learned that mermaids are not unlike the sirens of Greek mythology. They hypnotize sailors with their beautiful singing and the entranced sailors would walk or dive off of the ship in order to get to them, unfortunately drowning in the process. Or the sailors are nabbed by mermaids who forget that humans can’t breathe underwater and accidentally drown them while trying to show them their sweet underwater digs. Personally, if the mermaids of my youth had been more like these gals, I would have pretended to be one more often. There was a certain degree of “girl power” to these half mermaid-half vampire ladies…at least until one actually got captured and needed to be rescued by a big strong man. Then the whole “girl power” message kind of went right out the window.

How would you like it if your date went from this...

...to this! yeesh...

Ah well…at least I still had a strong woman in Penelope Cruz. She can fight! She can seduce! She can command a ship! The only thing I didn’t really care for was her borderline creepy obsession with her Dad. Speaking of which…Ian McShane was solid as Blackbeard thanks to his icy eyes. I couldn’t buy into him being a master of black magic but I got a kick out of seeing him in a non-western setting. Geoffrey Rush could read the phone book and make it interesting. His frenemy relationship with Jack was in full swing. Sadly, the person who felt most out of place was Jack and I think it’s because they tried to force the character into Jack Shandy’s role in the book. Despite Johnny Depp’s best efforts, the two characters just don’t really mesh. I missed most of the crew members from the Black Pearl, although my favorite of them, Gibbs (Kevin McNally) was there. I was uber excited to see Keith Richards again as Jack’s Daddy but was sorely disappointed by his wooden performance. This is the guy that Depp based Jack’s zaniness on after all.

In the end, it was a fun and entertaining movie but not one that I necessarily need to see again.

2.5 out of 5 sci-fives

Sci Five 2.5