Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

Posts tagged “iron man

The Babbling Paradigm

Recently, at a book signing, an author told at story about meeting Sue Grafton.

This author was at a major publishing event, one of those ALA’s or RT’s or RWA conferences where authors at different stages of their careers hobnob with the other members of their profession.

You all know who Sue Grafton is, right? The Alphabet Mysteries? A is for Alibi? Chances are you’ve seen these wildly popular mysteries around. She’s a very popular author.

While Jane Author was hanging out, someone said to her, “Don’t look now, but Sue Grafton is standing right behind you.”

Like all self-respecting human beings would do in that situation, Jane whipped around and yelled, “SUE!” For the next few minutes, during which she was shaking Sue Grafton’s hand, Jane blabbed her way through the encounter and didn’t actually remember what was said.

Which brings me to my point:

Who, if you had the chance to meet them, would you absolutely flip your shit over?

During lunch (with the author), she laughed about her Sue Grafton encounter and admitted that she would do it again. I answered, “We all have someone we would so that to. It’s just finding that person.”

I think this is an interesting question. Everyone has someone they would become a babbling idiot over. In the recent Nerdist podcast, host Chris Hardwick admits that he got a little flustered when talking to Tina Fey. If Tina Fey made time in her schedule to hang out with me for an hour and a half, I might lose it a little bit myself.

We’ve all seen that moment when the little girl meets the Disney princess at Disney World. Her eyes light up, she gasps, she runs across the park paying no heed to what’s going on around her. She wants to tell her everything. She babbles.

We never really grow out of that phase.

I have my stock answers: Robert Downey, Jr. and J.J. Abrams, but I don’t know if that’s particularly true. I suppose I would actually have to meet them in order to know whether or not that’s true.

You’re Iron Man. I-you-you’re Iron Man.

When does the mere idea of a meeting person become life-changing?

At the same event, a girl hung back and waited a little, quiet and unassuming. She stood in line, got her books signed, and walked around the store until the rest of the crowd cleared out a bit and the authors were left alone, signing stock and making plans for later.

When the time was right, she walked up to one of the authors and asked, “Are you ____?”

Author: “Yes.”

Girl: “Did you write _____?”

Author: “Yes, I did.”

Girl: “It’s one of my favorite books! I read it, like, a year ago and I want to read it again every time I finish another book!” She became a babbling idiot.

What does it take to be the person on the other side? How do we accept that praise? It’s not just admiration, it’s adoration. It’s breathtaking to behold. As a storyteller, I can only pray that I can reach someone on that level. You can write it off, play it down in front of your peers, ignore it in front of your friends, but that has to be an amazing moment.

You changed someone.

And, in the end, that’s all we can ever hope for.


4 Reasons Joss Whedon deserves an Oscar for the Avengers (Spoilers)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of The Avengers. After Hulk smash puny wizard by knocking Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II from the top spot for domestic grossing opening weekend, The Avengers is headed for another record breaking weekend. The second weekend will be in the $95-105 million range pummeling current record holder Avatar, which earned $75.6 million in its second weekend.

No film has ever done it faster.

A moneymaker does not an Academy Award make, but Writer/Director Joss Whedon deserves a nod all the same. For at least three categories, including Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture, here’s why I nominate Joss Whedon for the Academy Award.

BUT BE YE WARNED, THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD

1. He made the Hulk work.

When most people walked out of Avengers, the name playing across their lips wasn’t Stark or Loki. It was Hulk. Whedon installed a personality upgrade to the big green rage monster. Hulk wasn’t just fueled by the most brutal of human emotions, which seemed to be the trend of the Hulk’s previous two films, Mark Ruffalo’s CGI monster has a sense of humor.

And Mark Ruffalo’s teddy bear face

There’s even a moment when he saves Iron Man’s life and practically shouts him back from the dead. There was plenty of concern pre-release on what role man’s bestial nature would play and if Whedon and Ruffalo could pull it off. They did.

2. He got that cast to make that movie

Let’s crunch some numbers.

Gwyneth Paltrow – Winner Academy Award Best Actress, 1999

Robert Downey Jr – Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor, 1992; Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, 2009

Mark Ruffalo – Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, 2011

Jeremy Renner – Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, 2011; Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor, 2010

Samuel L. Jackson – Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, 1995

That’s six noms, 1 win.

If you’re judged by the company you keep, the Avengers is a pretty good crowd to hang around.

What’s even more impressive: find any interview featuring more than one Avenger and you might get an idea of what it was like to work with these guys day to day. They are impressive. They are hilarious. It’s remarkable they got any work done at all. But, you can tell from the linked interview that Joss Whedon can take control and command the personalities.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

(more…)


Culture of Collection – A tale of Christmas Present(s)

Don’t even try to pretend you don’t watch Hoarders. Your lip peels back in disgust at the sight of a house in such a state of disarray, it’s nearly physically painful. You placate yourself every minute or so, telling yourself, ‘I will never be like that’, but we might all be heading that way.

I live in a Culture of Collection. I have stacks of books collected around my house. As my shelves empty of books while my collection goes digital, I find other things to take their place. DVD’s, action figures, toys, *cough* an Iron Man helmet *cough*. My justification is and has always been: They look cool.

I read a post on the 90s today and suddenly, my hoarding fears rushed to the surface. I still have a crap load of Beanie Babies. Why? Dear, God, why? I didn’t even play with them when I had them. Here’s how it worked.

  1. Buy Beanie Baby
  2. Read poem
  3. Click on tag preserver
  4. Store

My cat got more use out of my Beanie Babies than I did. She killed them every night and left their rotting carcasses on the stairs for us to discover in the morning.

Keep in mind, this was so long ago, that cat is no longer alive.

Why do I still have them?

I’m on the path to hoarding. I can’t get rid of them. Every time I think of doing something with them, I remember how much I wanted them, how hard I tried to find them, and what a point of pride it was when I finally got Digger the Crab.

There was this notion that one day they would be worth something more (did that day ever come?), but now, they’re just a cute mass of nostalgia piled in a closet.

I’m not a sentimental person and, at some point, I will either decide to get rid of them or they will be in the way of something new. While I might have a tendency to collect things, I also have an OCD impulse that requires a certain balance of minimalism. Even I can have too many nerdy t-shirts (still haven’t reached the threshold on that one).

On some level, I have sympathy for hoarders. Objects are like pensieves; they contain memories, they seem to hold on to meaning. In reality, we’re the ones who have to remember the culture that we loved. We’re the ones who have to hold on to the memories. No object can arouse a full-fledged memory like a person can.

In the mean time, does anybody know what to do with a crap-ton of Beanie Babies?


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