The Magic of Marvel

In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker and his classmates compete in Academic Decathlon. I love that AcaDec is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe because I competed in it my senior year of high school. In fact, academic decathlon class was where I first heard about Marvel’s grandiose plan. One day during seventh period, a classmate of mine was talking about the Avengers movie. He said they would have to make Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor films first. And I remember thinking, “That’s too many movies. This will never work.”

Boy was I wrong. I have loved the MCU since the release of Iron Man and seen every single one. Seeing tribute videos makes me incredibly emotional.

My opinion is not unique. Walking into a comic book shop can be an off-putting experience. I walked into one this weekend. A group of teenagers was playing a tabletop game. Another group of middle-aged men sat across the room talking comics. Even for a nerdy loser like me, a comic book shop can be too dorky. On the other hand, everyone can talk about the movies. Continue reading The Magic of Marvel

The Only NBA Playoff Series That Matters

The Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in ’94 and ’95. However, those titles will always carry with them an asterisk: They won them during Michael Jordan’s first retirement1)Technically, Jordan came back during the ’94-’95 season, but he would not return to his GOAT level until the following year.. People look down on those championships because Hakeem Olajuwon did not have to beat Jordan to earn them.

As a Rockets fan, I say this argument is bullshit. Injuries, retirements, and bad luck are inherent factors every season. The best teams and players often do not face off against one another. The Lakers still won in ’09 even though Kobe vs. Lebron never happened. Back in the 90’s, The Rockets were the best team in the NBA two years in a row, and nothing should diminish that.

But deep down, even I know that is not true. Those Rockets championships do have a little tarnish on them. The Dream never got to play MJ in the Finals. Continue reading The Only NBA Playoff Series That Matters

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Technically, Jordan came back during the ’94-’95 season, but he would not return to his GOAT level until the following year.

The Earnestness of Genre Fiction

I wrote a novel.

Technically, only the first draft is finished, but that just means I wrote a really shitty book. When people ask me to describe my novel (or when I try to subtly bring the subject up in conversation like an arrogant asshole), I tell them:

The book is about a lot of big themes. Part of it is about the disempowerment of young men in the modern economy. Some of it is about the mind-body problem, in particular how the body is extensible through the use of tools.

But primarily the book is about giant robots fighting each other.

Laughter normally ensues. The joke proves I have a hip, ironic detachment with my work. Giant robots cannot have thematic value.

I am a fucking coward. The ironic detachment protects me and hides the truth: I wrote a book called Mecha Americana because I love Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion. To this day, I wish I could pilot the Gundam Epyon or Eva Unit-01, so I wrote a story about a white dude whom appropriates Japanese culture and technology to save the day. Continue reading The Earnestness of Genre Fiction