Friday, December 23, 2016

the mandela effect and andrew w.k.

The first time I experienced “false memories” or “the Mandela effect” was in regards to hotdogs. I was walking through the grocery store and found myself stunned. There was a huge display in the cooler for Oscar Mayer hot dogs and yet I could distinctly recall the brand being spelled Oscar Meyer. This ruined my day and prompted a call to my mother who also remembers the brand spelling as Oscar Meyer. I chalked this up to bad spelling skills and pushed the event into the back of my mind.


Source Courtesy: buzzfeed.com

The next encounter with this phenomenon was when I was watching some sort of documentary and they were talking about when they found the body of the Lindbergh baby in 1932. I was confused. I recalled the disappearance of the Lindbergh baby being one of the great mysteries in history. A lot like the disappearance of Amelia Earhart or...you know...Atlantis. I recall the case being unsolved, but again I decided my intelligence was the issue.

Recently, I stumbled onto this quirk again in regards to the Berenstain Bears. Yes, I said Berenstain. This has caught so many people off guard. Like me, they remember the Berenstein Bears. I found myself learning about the Mandela Effect and finding more things that have changed my whole perspective.

Here is a somewhat stolen list that I have usurped from mandelaeffect.com. These are all examples of where I have a false memories.

Berenstain Bears or Berenstein Bears - (As stated above.)
Color Chartreuse – Many people recall chartreuse as a pink or reddish color. It’s actually yellow-green.
Curious George – Tail or no tail? (He’s never had a tail.)
Lindbergh baby – Never found? In this timestream, the 20-month old baby was found 12 May 1932.
Nelson Mandela’s death in prison  – Long before his actual death (in this timestream) on 5 December 2013.
Tiananmen Square – Memories of a young man being run over by a tank. (Might be Mandela Effect issue or simple media manipulation.)
Sinbad – Did he ever play a genie in a major movie? Was it Shazaam? Did he ever play a genie, full stop?

Here is one of my own, This false memory involves Andrew W.K. I swear on all that is holy that I have heard every one of his songs in the early nineties. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

my road to nerdfighteria

Greetings and salutations reader!

My road to Nerdfighteria did not start with the “typical” evening at home crying over The Fault in our Stars. No, I'm too much of a mule for that. I managed to stubbornly ignore the book and by association Nerdfighteria for a VERY long time

I want to take this moment to thank Nerdfighteria for not giving up on me. You’ve been a real mensch! I trust you and depend on you for so much. You are my virtual porch. You are the place where I can bring my sub-par green bean casserole and play corn hole with my totally awesome soon-to-be friends.

Yay!!

Now, my story begins in my hometown Chicago. I was at my bestfriend’s (Brian’s) new place, next to his equally new baby; Greyson. I had flown in the night before and was exhausted from catching limited hours of rest on Brian’s “fancy” mid-century couch.

“Watch Greyson for a minute,” Brian had said to me, “I’ll put something on for you so you don’t get bored.”

I didn’t reply. I remember him fumbling around with his gadgetry. At the time, I had no idea what he was up to. I only had just awoken and I was still questioning the cruelty of the sun. Brian clicked something, handed me a remote, and left the room calling over his shoulder, “Don’t worry. You’ll like it.” 

He had put on CrashCourse Astronomy.

I must confess remembering three things about this experience. 
Number 1: I was vaguely aware that Brian had made this selection in the interest of his son. True, Greyson was a newborn. That would not hinder Brian from starting his spawn's education early.
Number 2: My sleep addled brain was not ready for science and thereby I was pretty angry at CrashCourse.

Number 3: I could not (for the life of me) figure out how to use Brian’s Roku remote and was considering the aftermath (and subsequent loss of a ten year friendship) from destroying his television.
I need to point out that I’m not usually this hostile. Unfortunately, lack of sleep, lack of food and repeating myself tend bring out my darkside. Plus, my other half Andy was at home and I was already suffering from withdrawals.

Through a series of miscommunications, Andy and I had both scheduled hangout sessions with our friends. I obviously had flown to see Brian and Kass had flown into town to see Andy. So while I had the pleasure of sleeping on Brian’s couch, she had the pleasure of sleeping on mine. Which in hindsight wasn't the best of bargains. Our couch was (and still is) a ripped up vomit green number from the 70’s.

My time in Chicago continued with relatively mundane events. I ate food, played board games, slipped on some ice, and eventually flew back to Dallas. This is when I first met Kass. 

She was (and still is) a kind hearted person and my first Nerdfighter friend. Although, I did not know that at the time. We bonded over many things; vellux blankets, video games, food, nail polish colors...but mainly we bonded over books. 

Ah, precious books. We talked about Goodreads, YouTube book reviews and the appropriate (or not appropriate) decision to dog ear book pages. There was mention of John Green.

At this juncture in my life there was only one John Green. The John Green that I am referring to was (and still is) someone that can be best described as the redneck employed at Andy's work. Everyday Andy had been coming home to regale me tales of this John Green. He was lazy, racist, and generally a no-good guy. So when Kass informed me her favorite author was John Green, I was less than impressed.

My lack of enthusiasm did not stop me from supporting her interest. When she told me that she was trying to find a copy of Looking for Alaska, we drove across town to the Half Priced Books flagship store. The store was (and still is) 55,000 square feet of literary glory. Anyone looking for...Looking for Alaska would find it there.

I remember standing in line as she clutched her precious treasure. I said something like, “Looking for Alaska huh? You know, when I was a kid I used to tell my mother that I would run away to Alaska and never come back.”

“Do you even know what the book is about?” she had asked.

I didn’t know of course. I was fairly confident it had something to do with Alaska. Though, I wisely kept that notion to myself.

You may believe that this is when I decided to read a book by John Green. Nope. Instead, I erased the chain of seemingly disconnected moments from my immediate memory and moved on.

I can’t remember how I came across CrashCourse again. If I had to posit a guess; I’d say it was during one of my Youtube surfing binges. You know the kind. Those endless streams of electronic consciousness and point-clicks.

My first thoughts on Crash Course Literature (the Crash Course I had stumbled upon) was as follows..
Impression 1: I too would like a sticker that reads, “This machine kills fascists.”
Impression 2: What color is that nerd man’s shirt? Is it peach? Coral? Red? Orange? Why do I have difficulty seeing shades of yellow!?

Impression 3: Wait. Did he just say that? Is he that guy-author-dude that Kass likes? Is he (dun dun dun dun) the other John Green? I should probably read his books
This description makes it seem like I have the attention span of a wayward fish but this is how coincidence led me to Googling John Green. I became an Alice in my own Nerdfighter Wonderland. I'm curiouser-and-curiouser about my story (and other Nerdfighter stories) and where our paths will lead.

Don't know what a Nerdfighter is? I suggest Google. It worked for me.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

romanticizing lord byron

Lord Byron was the original Don Juan. Coincidentally, he also wrote a satirical poem about Don Juan. I suspect that it was because he felt a kinship with the Don Juan character and wanted to, "set the record straight" for all "sexually charged men". 

Byron was well known for his bi-sexual scandals, romps with lovers, and an incestuous affair with his half-sister. Oh, and I hear he was a bit of a poet (she says dryly).

Left: Portrait of Lord Byron in Albanian Dress by Thomas Phillips
Right: Portrait of Lord Byron by Théodore Géricault
My discovery of Lord Byron came about because of my interest in gothic or "penny dreadful" tales. In a single youth-filled summer I read, Vampyre by John William Polidori, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Carmilla by Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu, and Dracula by Bram Stoker.

My copy of Vampyre came from a local thrift store. Inside the book was a folded printout of nformation akin to the following:
In June of 1816, an eclectic group gathered at the summer residence of famed poet Lord Byron in Lake Geneva, Switzerland. The group consisted of Byron’s mistress Jane Clairmont, her step-sister Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, and the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. They joined Byron and John Polidori, a doctor, who were already present, for a nice summer holiday. The weather was uncharacteristically bad, however, and, unable to enjoy outdoors activities, the group began reading German ghost stories. A crowd with such literary minds could not be constrained to simply read such stories, and a challenge was raised amongst the group to write their own supernatural tales. Clairmont and Shelley didn’t finish anything; Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, eventually to become Mary Shelley, wrote Frankenstein. Lord Byron wrote a fragment known as Augustus Darvell. John Polidori produced the nightmarish short story The Vampyre. - skullsinthestars
It made me curious who this Lord Byron was. He was indirectly responsible for two pieces of literature that left an impression on me. Also, it could be argued that without the book Vampyre, nethier Carmilla or Dracula would have been written.

After some research, I found that he was gloriously eccentric, club-footed, damaged human being. His words bespoke romance, but the man behind it was madness. 

He drank his wine from a human skull. He swam the Turkish Hellspont -- a four mile stretch of water now called the Dardanelles. His father went by the name "Mad Jack" and Byron liked to tell people his father died by slitting his own throat. He had a coffin in his dining room. He used his ancestor's bones as flower pots and his daughter was the first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace. 

In a letter, a friend wrote about time he spent with Byron;
Lord Byron gets up at two. I get up, quite contrary to my usual custom … at 12. After breakfast we sit talking till six. From six to eight we gallop through the pine forest which divide Ravenna from the sea; we then come home and dine, and sit up gossiping till six in the morning. I don’t suppose this will kill me in a week or fortnight, but I shall not try it longer. Lord B.’s establishment consists, besides servants, of ten horses, eight enormous dogs, three monkeys, five cats, an eagle, a crow, and a falcon; and all these, except the horses, walk about the house, which every now and then resounds with their unarbitrated quarrels, as if they were the masters of it… . [P.S.] I find that my enumeration of the animals in this Circean Palace was defective … . I have just met on the grand staircase five peacocks, two guinea hens, and an Egyptian crane. I wonder who all these animals were before they were changed into these shapes. - Wikipedia
Which leads to my ALL TIME FAVORITE FACT ABOUT ANY HISTORICAL FIGURE...EVER...

While studying at Cambridge, Lord Byron learned that he could not have his dog Smut (yes, that was his dog's name) stay in his dorm. Infuriated with the Cambridge rule on canines, he acquired a bear and proceeded to walk it around campus. There was no rule against bears! He even tried to get the bear enrolled as a student.

That. Is. Priceless. 

I am not saying that I romanticize the poet. I just think he was a troubled soul who was fascinatingly flawed.