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Ah, the simple innocence of a geek child

The interwebs were all abuzz last weekend, when Volkswagen released their "The Force" commercial in time for the Superbowl. The ad was an unqualified hit, but it also reminded me a number of pretty geeky things I got upto as a kid.

My geekiness counter swung wildly over the years - I was quite a geek until the age of .. ooh, let's say 12, at which point I sadly fell victim to the Dork Side (heh). My geek level were kicked up a notch only after I moved to New York, and started earning enough to indulge my JLA habit. Until then, I was the stereotypical kid with braces who loved Star Wars, and was too shy to work up a conversation with a girl more than 2 branches away on the ol' family tree. 


Seriously, if I were Jewish, that childhood would have gauranteed me a lifetime as a successful stand-up comic. But I digress ...


As I was saying, the ad, definitely reminded me of my childhood, and I thought I'd come out of the (geek) closet and share some memories with you.


Memorising Star Wars: A New Hope by the age of six


Yes, that's right. Before the interwebs came about and offered unfettered access to geek materials & scripts, I knew every word of every line in Star Wars: A New Hope. Mostly because it was one of the few video tapes I had to watch growing up in Nigeria, but let's face it, when you're six, there's very little that can top the coolness of watching Luke kicking Empire butt. I still belive that no other sci-fi/ fantasy movie has topped the thrill of the Death Star battle sequence.



The Bucket-on-the-Head Vader


I never had access to costumes as a kid, but necessity is the mother of all invention, as they say. I found that an empty bucket on the head made for the perfect echo chamber to recreate Vader's heavy breathing sound effect. Of course, I couldn't see anything, which is why after more than a few bumps, I limited myelf to standing still and recreating scenes from Star Wars: A New Hope.


I sometimes wonder if I'd have been such an ardent Star Wars fan as a kid if I'd known how Lucas was going to rape my childhood with Parts I-III, and that turd-fest called Indiana Jones & The Crytal Skull.



A Love of Max Fleisher Superman cartoons


As my darling wife will tell you, until a few years ago, I LOVED Superman. I wasn't quite at the level of Jerry Sienfeld, but I was up there in loving all things Supes. And the reason for it all was a video tape of the amazingly gorgeous Superman cartoons from Max Fleisher studios in the 1940s. These cartoons were short, packing a ton of action into a few minutes, had humour, superhero moves, and a bit of horror (hey, I was six ... some of those scenes are quite scary). Gods, I used to feel a little tingle down my spine hearing the words, "This looks like a job for Superman!", and watching Clark Kent's silhouette change into Superman against a soaring score!. I'm pretty sure I used to run around with a towel tied around my neck, because to me, these cartoons defined how Superman looked and moved while saving the day from rogue giant gorillas or the dastardly gang of theives that kidnapped Lois Lane. When my nephew turns five, I know what his birthday present is going to be!


Little known fact that I just read from Wikipedia: these cartoons were responsible for giving Superman his flying powers. Superman orginally could "leap tall buildings with a single bound" but not actually fly. That apparently looked a bit silly when animated, and so the powers that be decided to give Supes the ability to fly. (Of course, this is from Wikipedia, so hopeully some ardent fact-checker/ quizzer like Fing can verify this!)

I was thrilled to find out that these cartoons have gone public domain now - you can watch a lot of them online now. Here's one of my favourites.



My firm belief that Spock was the coolest Star Trek character ever


I religiously watched Star Trek (TOS) on DD every Sunday morning. Let's face it, there was little else to watch. Regardless, I thought Spock was the best character of the show. Never mind Bones' preacher-fiery humanity. Never mind Kirk's cocky swagger, cocky attitude (especially with the female aliens, am I right?!)  & command abilities. Spock had it all.


Spock could cooly analyse a situation and figure out a way to save the day. He had super-human strength. He could kick-ass in a fight, and could render people unconcious with the Vulcan neck-pinch. Dammit Jim, the pointy-eared hobgoblin had green blood! Kirk had to fake his death to get out of an ass-whooping by Spock!



This was in the mid-80s, long before Star Trek: TNG came on the air. These days, I'm convinced that Picard could have kicked Kirk's butt (let's face it, at the end of Generations, Picard was still alive)!

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