Suck it, Olivia Munn!

20 06 2011

Book Review: Suck it, Wonder Woman!: the Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek, by Olivia Munn with Mac Montandon, published by St. Martin’s Press

Let me start out by saying this: I really, really wanted to like this book.  I love seeing geeky media figures (Justin Timblerlake’s love of Spider-man coming out in an interview; Aisha Tyler’s reference to Street Fighter in her article in Entertainment Weekly).  It makes me giggle when I see a comment that not everyone will get.  I was hoping that Olivia Munn’s Suck it, Wonder Woman!: the Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek would talk about how she got into the industry, what it’s like to work for G4 (or G4TV, or TechTV as it used to be known) and the Daily Show, and what it’s like to be nerd and a girl at the same time.  I was hoping.  Instead, I got a poorly edited book of mostly drivel-ly vignettes and stories that are just downright “fapfodder.”
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In the Days of Towels and Radio Shows

26 05 2011

Yesterday (May 25th) was Towel Day.  Towel Day was created in memory of Douglas Adams (1952-2001), author of the ever popular Hitchhiker’s Guide series, and seems to grow each year, in size, participation, and events.   For those who don’t remember:

“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.) (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Chapter 3)”

If you haven’t read the series, I would suggest you run out and do so, but, if you don’t have the time to read the book, check out the old BBC radio dramas.  Once upon a time, Ace and I had a radio show together on Themyscira College’s radio station, called the “Science Fiction Double Feature Radio Show.”  On it, we would act out the BBC radio dramas of Hitchhiker’s Guide.  Though doing the shows with only two people was a bit of a challenge, it was the most fun I’d had since I was in Something’s Rotten in the State of Denmark (one of the silliest Hamlet parodies ever written).

It’s a shame that radio broadcast is a dying art; so many great shows once existed on the radio waves, Dragnet, the Adventures of Superman, Abbot and Costello, Laverne and Shirley… Still, the scripts exist and it’s totally possible to do the shows on your own, or with a friend.  So tune in to the old radio shows online, read the scripts, or, maybe, try to go out and start your own.  Just don’t forget your towel.



23 05 2011

I am a minority.  I am a minority within a minority.  I am a geek.  I am a girl geek.

There is a lot of stigma surrounding girl geeks.  The Hollywood depictions of us range from anxious, gawky girls who are inept in any social situations to Playboy models who make it their “thing” to appear geeky, so they can appeal to the masses of easily persuaded nerd boys.  And as much or as little as those images might be true, it’s still not the whole story.

The "Socially Inept" Geek

Charlyne Ye, Awkward "Geek"

The "It Girl" Geek
Olivia Munn, Hollywood “Geek”

Now, I’m not complaining.  My life is not made harder because I’m a nerd, I am simply stating that it can be a challenge to be the minority (girl) within a minority (geek).

Once upon a time, I worked at a video game store.  I love video games and, back then, I knew everything there was to know.  My boss chose me  because he saw my knowledge and enthusiasm, but many of the customers avoided talking to me if one of the other guys was around (might I also mention that I was the only girl who worked at the game store?).  Sure, mothers and girls came to me, talked to me, trusted my advice, but more of the male customers avoided me like the plague or hit on me like crazy.

Now I work in a comic book store.  It’s great, but every once in a while, I get a customer who looks at me, raising his eyebrow.  “Do you actually read comics?”  I always have to stop and do a double take at them.  The double take is not just because I’m working in a comic store, but also because my work ensemble always consists of a comic book t-shirt.  Do you really think I could not possibly be a comic book fan if I’m wearing a Squirrel Girl t-shirt?

I guess what I’m trying to get at is respect.  While my coworkers have always respected me no matter where I work (the video game store, the comic book store), the customers do not treat me the same way.  Because I’m a girl, others assume that I am a lesser geek.  And I guess that’s part of why I wanted to start this blog: to prove that I am not lesser; but also to prove that I really do know my stuff.

So, look forward to rants on 30 Rock, Daimon Hellstrom, Arrested Development, Power Girl, anime, video games, Pokemon, movies, manga, and more from me.

~Queen of Quasars