Summer Camp for Geeks, and the Dubious Appeal of Julia Roberts

I’m a geek. A big ol’ nerd. A dork. That guy who was picked second-to-last for the team (I always won out over the fat kid). And a funny thing happened. Once I got out of high school, I found out the dirty secret of the world: being a geek is a good thing. Geeks run the world. The former captain of the football team is today a copy machine repairman, and I have it easy. Heh. Almost makes up for spending every lunch period upside-down in a trash can. Time wounds all heels.

My biggest problem with this is that I’m not enough of a geek. The normals think I’m a geek; come Christmas I get a lot of geek-specific gifts, like the Star Wars trivia game. Yeah, I read comics, and I’m fairly conversant in Star Trek and the works of Lucas, Spielberg, et al, but I’m not a hard-core geek. I know this. I’ve never read a Sword-and-sorcery book, I’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons (I tried twice; fell asleep both times). I’ve only seen one episode of Enterprise (it’s on an archery practice night), heck, I just saw Unbreakable for the first time two nights ago. I’m really only moderately geeky. I’m not even that good with computers.

But these are my people. Yes, I feel a bit superior to some of them (the 400 pound woman in the metal bikini at Worldcon, for example), but really, I like geeks. That’s one of the reasons I go to the San Diego Comic-Con every year.

For the new folks who just wandered in (and those of you who came looking for Britney Spears NUDE; it’s in the archives, go find it), Monkey Spit was actually born on the message boards at Comic Book Resources; I had posted some of my drawings there, and Craig Kemper saw them, e-mailed me, and we began collaborating on the cartoons that became “The Fourth Wall” and eventually led to the creation of Monkey Spit. But I digress. We were talking about geeks. For the last five years, a bunch of the regulars at CBR have been gathering for dinner on the first night of the Comic-Con, and about three years ago, it expanded into a whole camping trip. Instead of paying upwards of $150 a night for the local hotels, about a dozen or so of us have taken to setting up in a local campground. It costs pocket change, a couple of bucks each per night. Such a deal. We call it Camp CBR.

Comic-Con is Geek Pride Week, and Camp CBR is summer camp for geeks. This year is Monkey Spit’s first appearance.

If you’re going to the Comic-Con (this year it’s August 1-5), we have a dinner on Thursday night for folks to meet and hang out, and then we get together at the campground on Saturday night (an excuse to avoid the Masquerade) and have our annual Weenie Roast. Drop a note and I’ll fill you in on the details.


While we’re on the subject of the Comic-Con, here’s the real truth about the current Site of the Week. It’s really a two-part parody, the sitcom and the kid who starred in it. I’ll start with the kid. There’s a guy who shows up there to sign autographs every year, and we wanted to make fun of him. 30 years ago, he played a supporting role as one of a group of kids in a classic children’s movie, and pretty much never did anything else afterwards. Three decades later, he’s still trying to trade on that. The sad part is, rumor has it he isn’t there as a guest or anything. He supposedly buys a regular admission and then just finds an empty table to set up his sign on and waits for customers. You could fire off shotgun blasts in his corner of the Hall of Has-Beens and never hit any fans. It’s a ghost town around him. Lt. Boomer from Battlestar Galactica has a busier table. One year he set up shop on a table that was reserved for that year’s hot comic artist, and security had to eject him. This is the guy that makes Clint Howard look like a superstar. Probably not nice of us to mock him like that, but hey, when did we ever pretend to be nice?

The facts of the sitcom itself are best summed up by the author of the page, our own Greg Hatcher: “What’s really scary is how much of this is based on fact. The writers for BATMAN, U.N.C.L.E., and LAUGH-IN actually DID take delight in sneaking in as many off-color references, double entendres, and foreign swearwords as they could… and NBC finally DID assign a full-time censor to LAUGH-IN for just that reason. Lorenzo Semple, Jr. and William Dozier allegedly wrote the BATMAN pilot over ‘one drunken weekend in Rome,’ as Dozier said later. And Ricou Browning and Janos Prohaska were THE go-to guys in the 50’s and 60’s if you needed someone in a rubber lizard suit. And of course, sooner or later EVERY sitcom in the ’60s had A) a mop-top band guest-star, and B) Sammy Davis Jr. show up, usually playing himself. Even scarier, neither Jim nor I had to look any of this stuff up. We just knew. Oh wait, that’s not scary, it’s just sort of sad.”


Another movie I finally saw this week was Ocean’s 11, the recent remake of the Rat Pack film. It was better than I expected, but as usual, I’m left wondering how Julia Roberts ever got cast in anything. I seem to be alone in some of my opinions, and this is one of them. Why does this woman get twenty million dollars a movie? I’ve never seen her be even moderately good in anything, and she’s not that pretty. All I could think during her scenes was how much better Charlize Theron would have been in the part.

Julia Roberts is scrawny and gawky. She has no natural grace at all. She’s totally unconvincing in all her roles– every time she appeared in Michael Collins she brought the movie to a screeching halt with her TERRIBLE faux-irish accent, and in Hook I kept wishing somebody had a flyswatter. Any woman in Hollywood would have been better in Pretty Woman. She’s almost as bad as her brother.

Don’t tell me it’s her radiant smile. Please. Her smile repulses me. Her mouth is too big for her face; it looks like her head is about to split in half.

Maybe it’s me, but the universal appeal of Julia Roberts completely escapes me.

While we’re on the subject of women who annoy me, would somebody please explain Shania Twain? One of my officemates at work has taken to playing a radio station that features her way too much, and she’s another one that I just don’t get.

She has a reasonably pleasant voice, but all her songs bug. That’s the new slang I learned from my kid. You don’t say “she bugs me,” you just say “she bugs.” Now I’m cool. But again I digress. Again, maybe it’s me, but all her songs sound like “stripper music” to me. Look, I’m glad you “feel like a woman,” Shania. That must come in real handy, being as how you are one. Now, could you maybe go away? Thanks.

Could it be that not buying the appeal of these two is just part of being a geek?

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