Geek Week

I’d say it’s been a pretty good week for geeks. I mean, Iron Man 2 came out yesterday (I went to see it last night!), this past Tuesday was Star Wars Day (a belated “May the 4th be with you” to everyone reading), and there have been a couple of geek-related stories in the news lately that have brought a smile to my face.

The first piece of news technically happened last week but I’m going to include it anyway. Last Thursday, the city of Seattle, WA, together with the folks from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, two stars from the Deadliest Catch, and the Seattle Sounders, pulled out the stops to make a little kid’s wish of being a superhero come true. The kid – Erik Martin – has cancer (there’s been some confusion in the different accounts of the stories as to whether it’s liver cancer or kidney cancer) and sometimes can’t go to school because he’s too tired. That didn’t seem to be a problem on Thursday, though. His day started with a phone call from Spiderman, who brought news that Dr. Dark and Blackout Boy were up to no good.

Erik was given a special costume to wear and given a sidekick, who drove him in a Delorean to where the Seattle Sounders had been “imprisoned.” After he saved the team, the day progressed through a series of other superhero tasks, eventually ending in a climactic battle at the Space Needle. The whole day included throngs of screaming fans, photo ops and, I believe, requests for autographs.

The whole thing gives me warm fuzzies. The folks at the Make-A-Wish Foundation are definitely some pretty awesome folks. Apparently the local chapter there in the Seattle area grants over 300 wishes a year all on its own. What makes this one particularly note-worthy is the amount of work that went into the whole thing. There were actors hired, major highways were shut down, an entire sports team was locked in a room. Folks, they got a city to go in on the whole thing. And we’re not talking small potatoes like the City of Fairfax here in Virginia (Sorry, Fairfax, but you are kind of small). This was the city of Seattle! High fives all around, Seattle. I tip my hat to you.

There is one thing that I’m left wondering about, though. I’m curious as to why the Make-A-Wish people specifically got two stars from The Deadliest Catch to play the two villains. Was Erik a fan of the show? Did they just happen to be on hand? Had they contacted the folks at the foundation and said they wanted to be a part of making some kid’s wish come true? None of the stories that I’ve found so far have said anything about it, so I’m left to ponder on my own.

On to the next story…

Spiderman stopped a real-life thief in an Australian comic book store, with the help of two Jedi and the Flash.

No, folks. I am not making this up. It seems the thief was trying to make off with an omnibus comic (with a value of AU$160) when the owner of the store – who was dressed as Spiderman for International Free Comic Day – spotted him. The store’s surveillance video is great. The guy is in the full Spiderman suit. He’s even got the mask pulled over his face.

When the thief tried to make a run for it, the store owner called for people to block the doors. Know who came to the rescue? That’s right. Jedi. Two of them. They blocked the doors with their lightsabers. Again, I’m not making this up. The owner’s co-worker, who was dressed as the Flash, continued to run the store and keep customers calm until the police showed up. According to the story I read, most of the people in the shop (there were around 40 folks there in costume) thought the whole thing was staged, at first. I’ll admit that I probably would have thought the same thing at first. I mean, honestly, how often do you get the chance to see Spiderman take down a bad guy, backed up by Jedi Knights?

On a side note, there was once an appearance of Darth Vader and two stormtroopers at the comic shop in the same shopping center where I work. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there on that day (I was up at Shore Leave at the time) and I have yet to see them return. To my knowledge, no one at Laughing Ogre Comics dresses up for free comic day. Such would not be the case if I worked there. And, on another side note…I’ve just realized that my local comic shop has a sister location up in my home state, not all that far from where part of my family lives. Hmm…

Anyway, two stories down, one to go.

This last little bit of information comes courtesy of my friend Andy, who brought it to my attention when we were out at Firehouse Subs to celebrate National Hoagie Day on Wednesday.

TomTom, the GPS company, is releasing a new series of voices for use in its devices. Star Wars voices.

Pretty soon people will be able to hear Darth Vader, Yoda, C3PO and Han Solo read their directions out in the car. Unfortunately, the voices are only available for TomTom users in Europe at the moment. I have no idea whether the company plans to release the same thing for drivers here in the states, but I would consider it rather shoddy business practice if they didn’t. The Darth Vader is the only option that is out at the moment, but C3PO will be next (June), followed by Yoda (July) and Han Solo (August). Looks like SW fans in Europe will be having a grand summer.

I know exactly which one of these I would have read my directions, if I had the program. Darth Vader. No question about it. I can only imagine what they have him programmed to say if, heaven forbid, you miss your turn. I would also secretly hope that, at some point, he’d tell me to go a direction that sounded confusing and wrong and he’d try to sway me into following his instructions by going “Search your feelings. You know this to be true.” Yes, I’m that geeky.

::sigh:: This latest development is just one more reason I need to get a car and succumb to the lure of GPS.

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