Growing up, parody and satire songs were amongst my favorites. We had 8-tracks and LPs of “Goofy Gold” and “Funky Favorites”, both chock full of classic novelty tunes that we practically wore out as kids. “Weird” Al Yankovic was one of my favorite artists. I got turned on to Dr. Demento collections in college, of which Tom Lehrer was a staple.
Lehrer’s stuff is cerebral, yet funny and decidedly sharp. It has a wicked edge that appeals to me greatly.
You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day (9781476785653): Touchstone (2015)
Felicia Day is an internet icon. She’s an actor, writer, and all-around content creator. She is also known for her work outside of the web on such shows as Eureka, Supernatural, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’s truly a powerhouse of talent and personality. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is her memoir. It details her unusual childhood, her entry into early online life, her experience as a violin prodigy, the creation of her hit web series The Guild, and her subsequent internet stardom and the fallout of that experience.
Felicia (I feel like I’m on a first-name basis with her) tells her story with her signature quirky personality and sense of humor. But what sets this book apart is the sincere vulnerability that she lays bare on the page. The anxiety and angst of her struggle as an actress and nascent screenwriter; the crippling depression and anxiety that she experiences as she runs her new multimedia company on her own terms; all of this is shared with humor, but with surprising candor. Where one may expect an fluff piece filled with empty platitudes of “I can do it, you can do it, too,” Felicia is actually inspirational in that she shares that her journey was hard and recognizes that fact. But because of her journey, she knows that, yes, if she can overcome what she has, you can succeed, too.
So, yes, this is a humorous book, but it is also genuine, heartfelt, and an inspiration. The chapters in which Felicia talks about her breakdown managing the Geek and Sundry network and in which she breaks down the #GamerGate controversy are especially stirring. While she shies away from it, this book solidifies the claim that the title “Queen of the Geeks” is a title well-earned.
Before getting into this week’s entry, I would be remiss if I did not at least give a tip of the hat to the Purple One, who we recently lost. I was never a huge fan of Prince, though what I heard of his music I generally liked. But I respect his influence and contributions to contemporary music and style. He will be missed.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, when I really got into tabletop roleplaying games, I had a bit of a soundtrack that got me in the mood to create adventures. Part of that soundtrack was this band, England’s Uriah Heep. With David Byron’s soaring vocals and Mick Box’s singular guitar work, and their right out of the dungeon lyrics, Heep just spoke to me in my late adolescence and early 20s. They still speak to me, to be honest. Here are a few of my favorite cuts of this unique, very ‘eavy, very ‘umble, band.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (9781250077004): Flatiron Books (2015)
Jenny Lawson has been entertaining folks on the internet with her delightfully askew view of life through her blog as “The Bloggess” and off the grid with her first collection of essays Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Furiously Happy is her second book and focuses on her new philosophy, that when the universe decides to be a complete asshat, respond by being completely, vehemently, furiously, happy–out of spite.
The subtitle of the book notes that it is “A Funny Book About Horrible Things”–which is true. Lawson suffers from several mental illnesses and is candid about her struggles with them–hilariously candid about them. The book is a collection of vignettes–mostly misadventures–with her CPA, her therapists, her best friends, her long-suffering husband Victor, all detailing her attempts to grab life by the cajones and live up to her new mantra. One highlight of the book is the trip to Australia she takes with a friend and the attempts to take a picture with a koala while wearing a koala suit.
While the book is hilarious, her struggle with mental illness is very real and poignant. Especially touching is the book’s epilogue. As someone who struggles with depression, I found it particularly touching and real.
In conclusion, if you haven’t checked out Jenny Lawson, you really should. Check out her blog. Read her books. Be ready to laugh and have your perspective changed for the better.
Disclaimer: This is not a photo of me or my friends. These people know what they’re doing.
So recently we had some friends invite me and The Wife to play Whirlyball. “What is Whirlyball?” You may ask? I certainly did, because I had no idea. Whirlyball is a strange hybrid of basketball, lacrosse, and bumper cars. And it is one helluva good time.
We arrived at the Whirlyball proprietor to be briefed on the rules, which are fairly straight-forward. There are two teams and two backboard. Hitting your backboard is one point. Hitting the sensor in the center of the backboard is two points. Hitting the sensor from three-point line is…three points. You don’t touch the ball with your hands, but with your scoop (unless it gets squished). Have fun. Plus some pointers as far as maneuvering your bumper car which doesn’t have a wheel but a rudder control.
We played three-on-three for about an hour and had a blast. I demonstrated my complete lack of athletic prowess, but still had a howling good time. I ended up hurting a rib (I think) when I hit a wall and then got rear-ended. And you should see the bruises on the The Wife’s leg. But a great time was had by all. I would definitely do it again. Highly recommended.