Fanboy/Girl Moment(s)

Dragon Con is coming soon.


For those of you that are unaware of what that means, I invite you to go here so that you can see why this is a cause for celebration. It’s an opportunity to be amongst my fellow nerds and geeks, as well as catch up with many friends that I often times only get to see at these sorts of things. It’s also a great time to have a random celebrity encounter or two.

Here’s my story!

This had to be close to 10 years ago, but I was riding in the elevator to head back to our hotel room after a good bit of aimless wandering in the Dealers’ Room. The plan was to relax for a sec, grab something to drink and then return to the sea of humanity that was the convention. There were a few other younger folks on the elevator heading to their own various destinations. The elevator stops, and a rather distinctive older gentleman makes his way on and gives a friendly greeting before pressing the button for his floor. I’ve done a bit of research and online sleuthing since that moment, and after lots of intensive labor I was able to track down his photo.


Now as famous as George Takei is, this was during the years before he became the Lord and Savior of the Internet and easily one of the most influential personalities in existence. You youngsters might not believe it, but there was actually a time where people didn’t know who George Takei was. And here I was on an elevator with such a group, as no one paid him any semblance of a mind or even flinch.

Be cool, Mani. Be cool…

He starts cracking jokes, because of course he’s going to start cracking jokes. There was some laughter from the masses, but still no sign of recognition. He doesn’t seem to mind, and he just keeps smiling and chatting away. Finally, the elevator comes to my floor. As I’m making my way out, I quietly extend my hand and smile.

“Huge fan of your work, sir.”

He returns the smile and shakes it. “Oh, thank you very much.” And after the door closes, I practically power-walk to our room, throw the door open and announce to my roommates that I had just run into George Mother-effin’ Takei =)

I’ve had other friends have some pretty cool celebrity encounters at Dragon Con as well. So, my people, let’s hear it- have any of you had any sort of celebrity encounter? Who was it? Where was it? I’d love to hear about it!

re: ruined childhood

Dear Geek Council,

I vote for the immediate removal of the phrase ‘it ruined my childhood’ when describing any sort of new media based on a nostalgic property. I mean, let’s be serious. We throw around that phrase way too often. And until Michael Bay invents a time machine that hunts down your memories and replaces them with a looping video of him setting fire to your copy of Transformers: The Movie, I think we’re being a bit overly dramatic.

Now this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t complain about things. Oh God no, I wouldn’t dream of trying to take that away from us. All I’m asking for is that we keep things in perspective and NOT be THAT guy/girl. I know that there are some things that hold a special place in our hearts that automatically gets a raised eyebrow whenever someone tries to mess with it. But I have to ask, is this really such a bad thing? Best case scenario, we get a new chapter of something that we already love. Even if we follow the worst case scenario and it ends up being a colossal dumpster fire, it can actually give us a better appreciation of what came before. I refer to this phenomenon as The ‘Street Fighter’ Effect. I think that we can all agree that the Street Fighter movie was somewhat… lacking. But didn’t it seem that much better when faced with the atrocity that was The Legend of Chun-Li?


The funny thing is, I didn’t have a particular fandom in mind when I started writing this. These were just observations that I’ve noticed over the years. But then, the Gods of the Internet were merciful and decided to bestow upon me a concrete example. In case you weren’t aware, there was a trailer released yesterday based on a nostalgic property that some fear shall go all I’m-Looking-For-Sarah-Conner on their memories.

Some of us need to calm the &#@% down.

Now, I understand the trepidation that comes from messing with a classic, I get that. And I’m not even going to address the misogynistic backlash, at least not in this column; that’ll be a rant for another day. But to everyone out there that has lost their mother effin’ minds and collective shits, to those of you screaming about how this somehow destroys your experiences growing up and that this movie, through some sort of temporal anomaly and/or sorcery, has somehow managed to ruin your childhood


It ain’t that serious, brah.

— Mani

EWF: A Tribute to The Elements


I had every intention of writing about something else tonight. But then I got word that Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire had passed away.

On one hand it seems silly to be upset over the passing of somebody that you’ve never even met. But then again, it’s kinda not. Music has always been about emotion and memories for me, and I have so many that I associate with EWF. I remember my parents playing their music from “back in the day” on those early Saturday mornings as a kid, which would always (and I mean ALWAYS) had some EWF mixed in there. I don’t know if it was the voice, the bassline, the horn section, or the combination of all three, but one day I just had to ask my mother. “What is the name of this song?” I wondered. “And who sings it?”

Mom smiled. “This is Earth, Wind and Fire,” she explained. “And the song is Let’s Groove.” She would then, without fail, start singing along. Let’s Groove remains to this day my Happy Song. On another day I was riding around with my dad and asked about that heartbreaking song that we just heard with that poor man pouring his soul out.

Dad nodded. “After The Love Is Gone,” he answered. He neglected to begin singing it because, let’s be honest, very few people on this planet can hit those notes. But that never stopped me from trying (within the privacy of my own vehicle as I got older, of course, and after making sure there wasn’t anyone around in at least a 3-mile radius). Their music would guarantee one of two things; I was either going to be in a good mood and shaking my posterior, or I was going deep into my feelings. Their music was a reflection of life to me. It talked about the highs, the lows, our hopes and dreams, and it showed me that awesome things happen when we bring together our various backgrounds and experiences.

EWF shaped my appreciation of music, taught me about funk and soul, and was the perfect soundtrack for those days where you were just happy to be alive. RIP, Maurice White. May we continue to make memories to your wonderful gifts to the world.

Song(s) For The New Year!


So, I’ve got this odd habit.

At the start of every year, I take special note of the first full song that I hear on the radio. To me, that’s a reflection of how the next 365 (366?) days will go. Last year it was Once In A Lifetime by Talking Heads, and I reaaaaaally do hope that 2015 was a once-in-a-lifetime sort of year.

Anywho, what’s funny about this year is that my song choices got interrupted twice (I was the passenger at the time), and I ended up coming into the middle of the third. They all seemed to work in their own special sort of way, however, so I’m changing the rules up a bit for this year.

1. Photograph by Ed Sheeran

A bit of a sentimental choice, but not a bad one. Remembering those that we are closest to even when they’re not around? I can work with that. It’s a good song, but I was slightly relieved when my wife changed that station since it gave me an out. Still though, I can respect the message.

2. Time Of Our Lives by Pitbull (ft. Ne-Yo)

On the surface this song is about mainly about drinking and fornicating, two activities that definitely would have made it on Conan’s extended list of What is Best In Life. Taking a look a bit deeper however, it’s also about an often overlooked aspect of our lives- Self Care. Let’s examine the opening lyrics.

I knew my rent was gon’ be later ’bout a week ago
I work my ass off, But I still can’t pay it though
But I got just enough, To get up in this club
Have me a good time, before my time is up.
(via MetroLyrics)

Knowing that your rent was going to be late that far in advance indicates that one is going through some tough times; this is supported by his next statement, which indicates that this is all despite the working off of the ass. That’s textbook frustration right there. But despite this (or perhaps even, because of it), he’s making the effort to enjoy life. Do what you can to take care of your business, but always take time to enjoy yourself.

3. Call Me, Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen


My father-in-law liked this song. I mean, he REALLY liked it. For the longest time I wondered what was it about this insanely catchy (albeit slightly overplayed) pop song that appealed to this guitar-playing badass with a love for 60’s and 70’s rock like The Beatles and The Yardbirds? I never got the chance to ask him, but I think I finally figured it out.

I think personally that it just made him happy. And we need things in our life that just make us happy.

So, when I hopped in my car to run an errand and turned on the radio to hear this, I immediately starting laughing because I knew that I had my songs.

May your 2016 be filled with memories, self-care, and things that make you happy!