Monday, 2 September 2013

Geek Holidays. Your Essential Calendar.


Geek Calendar

January 2  Isaac Asimov's Birthday

Isaak Yudovich Ozimov was born on Jan 2, 1920, or he may have been born on October 4, 1919. He himself was never sure, and said that it didn't really matter, but he chose Jan 2 to celebrate his own birthday. He needs no introduction to geeks everywhere, but a re-cap never hurts.  One of the 'Big Three' masters of hard science fiction, Asimov's most famous work is the Foundation Series.

Asimov's cultural legacy may be his formulation of the Three Laws of Robotics, which state:
1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Asimov added a 'zeroth' law for the eventuality of robotic responsibility for human civilisation:
0. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

Happy Birthday Isaac!
Artist Credit: Rowena Morrill

January 3  J.R.R. Tolkien's Birthday

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, born in the Orange Free State, Southern Africa in 1892, created Middle Earth and subsequent novels, The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-5) primarily as a world for his invented languages to live in. In doing so, he single-handedly inspired a popular resurgence of the fantasy genre.  Such was the dominance of The Lord of the Rings, it elevated the status of fantasy literature that arguably still casts a daunting shadow over the genre to this day, nearly 60 years after its initial publication, in a way that no single piece of Sci-Fi literature has managed to do.

Tolkien's Birthday Toasts   

February 12  Darwin Day

Celebrating the birthday of Charles Darwin, author of "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life" (aka The Origin of Species) which proposed the scientific theory of natural evolution.  The day is also used to promote science in general.  Events held to celebrate Darwin Day include Hosting a Phylum Feast, making 'Primordial Soup', and trolling Creationists.

Here are some trolling tips

For those who don't have the time to read big books these days, here's an instructional little video that condenses millions of evolutionary years into 10 minutes.

And, yes, for the record, Evolution is 'just' a theory.  But so is Gravity.  If you believe that Evolution can be dismissed on the grounds that it is 'just a theory', I'd be more than happy for you to test the 'theory of Gravity' by leaping out of a 10 storey building.

International Darwin Day

First Friday in March  Action Figure Work Day

All right.  This is a new holiday, inadvertantly started by Randall Ham in 2014, who posted Instagram images of his Variant New Teen Titans White Raven action figure doing his chores around the office.  The response was nuts, and so a new Geek Public Holiday was born.  HUZZAH!

The deal is this.  Take your beloved action figure (or figures) to work.  Instragram them at work, and add the hashtag #afwd2015 and check out the facebook page for worldwide results.

I'm not sure Hulk is a good choice for this holiday.  Unless you're planning on rage-quitting work.  In which case, go the hack!
There seems to be a bit of competition in th field, with the Bring Your Man-E-Faces To Work Day holiday also a thing, falling on the 'day after (the US) Labor Day'.  But not everyone has a Man-E-Faces now do they...

"Man, this meeting could have soooo been an e-mail..."

Check out more info here and start snapping! 

March 11  Douglas Adams' Birthday

Douglas Adams had the good fortune of being involved in various degrees with some of the coolest British TV in history including cameo appearances in Monty Python's Flying Circus and script editor for Doctor Who.  But he is most famous for The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which started out as a radio serial, morphed into an increasingly inaccurately named trilogy (now in 6 parts) of books, and finally a BBC serial.  Perhaps the lasting legacy of this series is that it purports to answer the ultimate question to Life, the Universe and Everything, which is 42.  The real issue of course was to identify the Question, which Ford and Arthur eventually manage to do over history's first ever game of Scrabble.

The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy is also responsible for another Geek Holiday, International Towel Day, to celebrate this work. (see below)  Start quoting today!

Grab a quote from Douglas Adams here

March 14  Pi Day

Pi Day

A day for the celebration of the mathematical concept of Pi, which is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.  Pi day is celebrated on March the 14th, or 3/14 (month/day) , relating to 3.14, the three easiest to remember digits of this insanely long number.  How long?  It's infinite apparently.  As of October 2011, it has been calculated to 10 trillion digits.  Gotta love a challenge.

Let's not forget Pi Approximation Day, on July 22, as 22 / 7 as a fraction is approximate to Pi.

How to celebrate Pi Day?  Well, you could network super-computers and break the 10 trillion digit mark, ooorrr you could just bake a pie and chat about Pi.  Or just eat the pie, and hold a contest to recite Pi from memory to the longest number.  Or you could just eat the pie.

Bearing in mind, March 14 is also the birthday of Albert Einstein.  Why choose when you can do both?

March 25  Tolkien Reading Day.  No doubt about how to spend this one.

Here's my favourite quote from The Silmarillion:

"There came a time of winter, when night was dark and without
moon; and the wide plain of Ard-galen stretched dim beneath the cold
stars, from the hill-forts of the Noldor to the feet of Thangorodrim. The
watch-fires burned low, and the guards were few; on the plain few were
waking in the camps of the horsemen of Hithlum. Then suddenly Morgoth
sent forth great rivers of flame that ran down swifter than Balrogs from
Thangorodrim, and poured over all the plain; and the Mountains of Iron
belched forth fires of many poisonous hues, and the fume of them stank
upon the air, and was deadly. Thus Ard-galen perished, and fire devoured
its grasses; and it became a burned and desolate waste, full of a choking
dust, barren and lifeless. Thereafter its name was changed, and it was
called Anfauglith, the Gasping Dust. Many charred bones had there their
roofless grave; for many of the Noldor perished in that burning, who were
caught by the running flame and could not fly to the hills. The heights of
Dorthonion and Ered Wethrin held back the fiery torrents, but their woods
upon the slopes that looked towards Angband were all kindled, and the
smoke wrought confusion among the defenders. Thus began the fourth
of the great battles, Dagor Bragollach, the Battle of Sudden Flame."

Brush up on your Black Speech here

Tolkien Reading Day

April 5  First Contact Day  (Star Trek)

More of a pre-celebration of an event that won't ever happen.  It doesn't get much geekier than that, really.  First Contact Day (pre) celebrates the arrival at Bozeman, Montana of the Vulcan Survey Ship the T’Plana-Hath on April 5th, 2063.  The Survey Ship responded to the warp signature of the Phoenix, which was (is) (will be) (won't ever be) (we need The Doctor to sort out this one)  the spaceship that housed mankind's first successful attempt at achieving warp drive.

We Come In Peace

Why was April 5th chosen as First Contact Day?  Movie co-writer Ronald D. Moore put up his guilty hand and explained that April 5th is the birthday of his oldest son.  A quick google-fu reveals that Ronald was born in 1964, meaning that, should he survive to reach First Contact Day, he will be the ripe old age of 99.  Just young enough, I would imagine, to benefit from the advanced medical rejuvenation technology that the Vulcans will undoubtedly bring with them.  Live Long and Prosper.

First Contact Day

April 12  Yuri's Night

(In Russia, Cosmonautics Day)

Yuri's Night celebrates space exploration milestones in general, and humanity's first venture into space, when Yuri Gagarin flew Vostok 1 on April 12th 1961.

German scientists during World War II were the first people to launch rockets (the V2) into space in 1942.  The first animals in space were fruit flies, launched by poached German scientists then working for the US, in 1947.   Their names are lost for all time.  The first monkey in space was Albert II (son of Albert I, who was also fired into space, but only made it about 60km from the earth's surface) in 1949.  The US also fired some mice into space, but the mortality and recovery rate for the monkeys and mice was frankly appalling.  No unionists, one would assume.
The Soviet Union had better success firing dogs into space, firing Tsygan and Dezik into space (but not orbit) in 1951, and successfully recovering both dogs.  On November 3, 1957, Soviet Cosmodog Laika, aboard Sputnik 2, became the first animal to orbit the earth on board the second craft to orbit the earth.  Sadly, Laika died during the flight, because the technology to actually return from orbit had yet to be invented.
More dogs were launched before Yuri Gagarin made his historic flight on April 12 1961, and the Space Race was on like Donkey Kong (who was never launched into space or orbit).

Ham the Chimp returning from his 1961 Mercury-Redstone 2 flight.

Guinea Pigs, Frogs, Rats, Cats, Parasitic Wasps, Flour Beetles, Tortoises, Wine Flies, Meal Worms, Nematodes, Fish, Spiders, Newts, Brine Shrimp, Crickets, Snails, Oyster Toadfish, Sea Urchins, Jellyfish, Bees, Ants, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (WTF?!?), Scorpions and Butterfly larva have all joined the ranks of animals who have been taken into space.  An assortment of people and robots have also been launched into space, most of the people came back, most of the robots did not, one is currently doing burn-outs and taking selfies on Mars as we speak, another is spying on Saturn and its moons as we speak, and Voyager 1 is expected to push through the Heliosheath and cruise Interstellar space any year now.

But let's not forget the man who made it first, Yuri Gagarin.  Celebrate by watching First Orbit , neck copious amounts of Vodka, fire rockets into space (or in the air at least, with a Ken Doll strapped on for good measure and authenticity) or re-live the Cold War all over again.  With Rockets.   

Yuri's Night

Recommended listening?

April 16  Velociraptor Awareness Day

While it might seem a game to some, the Velociraptor threat is very real.  Just one level behind the impending Zombie Apocalypse, the Velociraptor Peril needs to be taken seriously, or we will all suffer the consequences.  Unlike the Zombie Apocalypse, a machete is not your best friend.  You do not want to have to deal with these monsters up close and personal.  Distance attacks are the best advice, and they can close distance fast!  The American Society for Velociraptor Attack Prevention suggests tips for new home buyers, like checking door frames (solid oak or steel is recommended) and window sizes (smaller than a Velociraptor) for extra security , and it is thoroughly recommended that you get to know your neighbours, in case they turn out to be Velociraptors.  A small amount of prevention could save you a Hollywood-sized problem in the near future.  Be Aware.  The life you save could be your own!  Use this day to raise awareness among your friends, family and co-workers.  Map out emergency evacuation points, and sandbag a rooftop turret on your house.  Interior ladders only, Velociraptors can disable and destroy external ladders!  Wear the official t-shirt around town, and engage in an intensive leaflet campaign at your local council.  Above all, Be Prepared!

There can never be too much of this kind of thing

Martial Artists Prepare For Velociraptor Awareness Day

May 4  Star Wars Day  World Fair Use Day

Probably the best known (perhaps only generally-known) Geek Holiday is Star Wars Day.  There is a little confusion as to why May the 4th was chosen as Star Wars Day.  It is generally agreed that the pun 'May the Fourth be with you', now refers to the Star Wars phrase 'May the Force be with you'.  But the origin is in debate.  According to Wookiepedia the pun has been appropriated from a London Evening News ad taken out in 1979 by the UK Conservative Party congratulating their newly voted in leader, Margaret Thatcher.  The ad read "May the Fourth be with you, Maggie. Congratulations."  
However, according to this Wikipedia entry the date was chosen to signify the anti-imperialist, cultural and policital movement of the May the Fourth Movement, growing out of student demonstrations in Beijing on May 4th, 1919.

Whatever the origin, the Star Wars camp now owns the phrase, with the help of Google and Disney, who now own the whole kit and kaboole (including Jar Jar). 

Things to do to celebrate Star Wars Day:

Star Wars Movie Marathon.
Invent a new way to kill Jar Jar.
Do.  Or Do Not.
Use the Force to open Automatic Doors.  (Actually, I do this every day...)
Break up random conversations between strangers or co-workers, yelling 'It's A Trap!'
Get together with Star Wars friends and cast the up-and-coming movies.  Argue over who should actually be directing the new Star Wars movies.  Cast yourself in a role.
Dress your kids/pets up in Star Wars costumes.  And yourself.  Take pictures.  Post them online.
Force Choke someone
Buy even more Star Wars shit.
Play with your opened Star Wars toys.  Re-enact crucial, or insanely obscure scenes from the movies.  Or the EU.
Join the 501st Legion
Update your Facebook profile pics with Star Wars pics.  Post Star Wars crap all over your wall.
Play Star Wars console or PC games.
Troll Trekkies.

There are some people out there who have never watched Star Wars, and don't know what all the fuss is about.  I have personally encountered 3 people like this in my life.  Here's a little guide to help these unfortunate culturally-deprived folks get up to scratch...

How to become a Star Wars Fan

Kiss me, it's Star Wars Day

May The Fourth Be With You

Star Wars Day completely overshadows World's Fair Use Day.  Oh well.
Here's a link, just in case you need a year off from celebrating Star Wars day.

World's Fair Use Day

May 22  Anniversary of the world debut of Pac-Man

Of all the games at the dawn of Arcade Gaming, there is something special about Pacman.  Frogger aside, most early games involved shooting stuff.  Space Invaders, Asteroids, Duck Hunt, Galaxian/Galaga, and many more had your standard joystick and a fire button.  Pacman was weird.  It was a dark maze with ghosts hunting you, and you had to eat your way out of trouble.  What?!?  What kind of a game is that?  A classic game, a towering  monument to the Weird Idea as gaming hero, that's what.   

It used to cost 20 cents a game.  Now, PC emulators and websites mean that you can celebrate the world debut of Pacman for free.  Or celebrate having just got up for the day.  Or celebrate having an internet connection.  Everything goes better with a 33 year old yellow eating thing as your gaming hero.

Play for free here

Pac-Man Level 256. 

Remember, as Marcus Brigstoke once famously said...
"If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in dark rooms munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music."

The Secret Origin of Pac-Man? 

May 25  Towel Day (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)  Geek Pride Day   The Glorious 25th of May

May 25 is a bit like Geek Christmas and Halloween all wrapped up together, with 3 or 4 holidays (depending on whether or not you live in Los Angeles).

May 25th was declared "Star Wars Day" by the Los Angeles City Council, to celebrate the release date (in 1977) of the first Star Wars Day.  2 Star Wars Days?  Why not.

Back when Star Wars was in Black and White

International Towel Day

Celebrating Douglas Adams' works, the first Towel Day was first commemorated on May 25, 2001, 2 weeks after Douglas Adams' death.  The day is a celebration of Douglas Adams' works in general, and can revolve around working a towel somehow into the day's celebration.  Cue Towel Quote:

“A towel, [The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy] 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-boggingly 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.”

Do these towels count?

Towel Day

Geek Pride Day

Starting in Spain in 2006 as "Día del Orgullo Friki" of all places, Geek Pride Day is a bit like Gay Pride day, but the costumes are more outrageous.  The date was chosen to co-incide with the release of the first Star Wars movie (Jaysus, does that shit never get old?).
Amid the clatter of D20 rolls and incessant Sci-fi quotes, geeks everywhere take over the internet (more) and engage in all manner of geekiness.  Sometimes this even spills over into the local comic store.  Yeah, you heard.  AFK!  Right On!  In your face, sports fans!  I'm not entirely convinced there are standard ways to celebrate yet, so anything goes at this stage.  Except, perhaps for...

Everyone knows someone like this...

Geek Pride Day

The Glorious 25th of May.  Discworld.

A day to indulge in Terry Prachett's Discworld series, and more recently (as if the 25th of March wasn't busy enough) since Terry's announcement that he has Alzheimer's, there have been calls to wear lilac as a tribute, and to raise awareness for Alzheimers.

Funnier than Harry Potter

The Glorious 25th of May

So, May the 25th.  Carrying your lilac towel in one hand, and your light-saber in the other, wearing your super-hero costume, saunter in to your local comic-book store, grab a stranger and read them some treasured extract from 'The Colour of Magic'.  Just to cover all the angles. 
Happy Geeking!

First Saturday in May  Free Comic Book Day

The First Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day in most comic book shops (that stock US comics) in the world.  Stroll on in to your local (if you have one.  Drive if you don't) and score a freebie.  Just like that.  The idea is that you come back, after having been astounded at the freebie that you scored, and purchase more of this subversive literature.  Genius!  And to be taken advantage of at every possible opportunity.  Because adding free comic books to your growing pile of over-priced comic books makes all kinds of sense.  I mean, who doesn't like free stuff!

As a bonus for 2013, Free Comic Book Day had the decency to fall on the same day as Star Wars Day.  All Hail!!!

Free Comic Book Day

June 6  International Day Of Slayer

There are many different types of geeks in the world.  The International Day of Slayer is a celebration for some more extreme types.  The Metal-heads!  Anime fans are all good and well, but nothing beats having the Slayer band logo carved into the back of your head, and it's quicker than sitting through 6,000 episodes of Sazae-san. 

The International Day of Slayer started out in 2006 as a spoof of the national Day of Prayer (6/6/06), but since the death of guitarist Jeff Hanneman in May 2013, the push is to make the International Day of Slayer the first 'Heavy Metal Holiday' (after Halloween, which is an unofficial Heavy Metal holiday anyway). 

Things to do to celebrate this long-overdue Heavy Metal Holiday include:

Listen to Slayer at full blast in your car.
Listen to Slayer at full blast in your home.
Listen to Slayer at full blast at your place of employment.
Listen to Slayer at full blast in any public place you prefer.

DO NOT use headphones! The objective of this day is for everyone within earshot to understand that it is the National Day of Slayer. National holidays in America aren't just about celebrating; they're about forcing it upon non-participants.
Taking that participation to a problematic level:

Stage a "Slay-out." Don't go to work. Listen to Slayer.
Have a huge block party that clogs up a street in your neighbourhood. Blast Slayer albums all evening. Get police cruisers and helicopters on the scene. Finish with a full-scale riot.
Spray paint Slayer logos on churches, synagogues, or cemeteries.
Play Slayer covers with your own band (since 99% of your riffs are stolen from Slayer anyway).
Kill the neighbour's dog and blame it on Slayer.
(source, International Day of Slayer Official website.)

I prefer the idea of killing a hippie rather than dogs, because a dog doesn't have a choice about being a dog, whereas a hippie...

 Slayer Kittie Good
Slayer Kittie Good
 Slayer Kittie Bad

International Day Of Slayer

President Obama officially declaring International Day of Slayer a public Holiday

July 2  World UFO Day

Another holiday that has a disputed date.  Some celebrate World UFO Day on June 2, while others celebrate it on June 24.  June 2 commemorates the supposed crash of the UFO at Roswell in 1947, while June 24 commemorates the date that aviator Kenneth Arnold reported the first UFO sighting in the US.  Take your pick, or celebrate both days.  Add an extra day.  Go nuts!

The idea of World UFO Day is to raise awareness for the 'indisputable' evidence of UFOs (like Crop Circles and ambiguous cave etchings, one would imagine), and to encourage governments to de-classify documents relating to UFO sightings, encounters, anal probings, cattle mutilations, etc.  It is also a glorious celebration of the right to indulge in Spurious Logic and outright Dickhead Thinking, which has been the Right and Privilege of  Orthodox Religions and Conspiracy Nuts since Time Immemorial.  And a day to brush aside the annoyance that is Fermi's Paradox because LOOK! A UFO!  Prove me wrong!

Not that I am against the idea that there are Other Life Forms in the Cosmos, Fermi's Paradox notwithstanding.  However, frankly, the idea of being visited by a vastly superior alien race is pant-shittingly scary, if our own history of old world/new world cultural clashes are anything to go by.  The idea of 'The Matrix' using our bodies as living batteries comes to mind.

Still, the UFO is a much-loved tradition in Sci-fi movies, and have etched their way into our collective sub-conscious so for that reason, you gotta love them.  Mass Cultural Hallucinogenic Responses to Cold War Anxiety, or genuine teaser, it doesn't matter.  Embrace the Alien within you, and leave your reasoning faculties at the door.  It's not like anything else in this world makes sense anyway... 

Possibly the most realistic First Contact scene ever filmed!

World UFO Day

July 22  Pi Approximation Day

See March 14 Pi Day

August 19  Gene Roddenbery's Birthday

Not really a holiday, but a good excuse to set phasers to Bowel Disupt and go on a rampage.  Or re-watch that episode of Star Trek again.  (Sorry, I'm not a Trekkie.  Is that what they do?)

August 24  Pluto Loss Of Planetary Status Commiseration Day  Running of the Hoods Day (Willrow Hood Celebration day  Star Wars)

On the 24th of August, 2006, an assembly of the International Astronomical Union, hereafter referred to as The Bastards, voted to strip the Planet Pluto of its planetary status, and demote it to Floating Turd At The Edge Of The Cool Zone status. Little did The Bastards realise the savage backlash they would face from Pluto advocates and outraged Disney Fans who, though in error, were welcomed to the fold anyway for their added hostility.

Pluto's discovery on Feb. 18, 1930 was one of the most serendipitous moments of astronomy.  However, it's status as a planet has always been questioned by narrow-minded, bigoted scientists and elitist gas-bags.  With the discovery of the Kuiper Belt in 1992, and many more Pluto-like bodies orbiting the solar system at extreme distances, the pressure was on to kick Pluto out of the Planet Club. 
In 2006, The Bastards re-defined a 'planet' as meeting three criteria:
   1. The object must be in orbit around the Sun
   2. The object must be massive enough to be a sphere by its own gravitational force. More specifically, its own gravity should pull it into a shape of hydrostatic equilibrium
   3. It must have cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit
Pluto failed to meet this hastily knocked-up criteria on only the third point, clearly added with the sole purpose of excluding Pluto.

Alan Stern, who is the principal investigator with NASA's "New Horizons" mission to Pluto, has publicly rubbished The Bastard's resolution. Stern claims that by the terms of the new "definition", the planets Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Neptune, all of which share their orbits with asteroids, would be excluded.  That means we are not on a planet either!

The Bastards are also dragging their feet in regards to formalising a definition for binary dwarf planets, so Charon's status as a moon of Pluto is also in possible danger.

Stop the Madness!  Bring back Pluto into the Planetary Club!  Think of the children!

Find out what to Do About It!

Pluto Demoted From Planetary Status

Running of the Hoods Day (Willrow Hood Celebration day  Star Wars)

Jesus Tittie-Fucking, another Star Wars related holiday?  Well, more an event, really.

I've banged on a bit about this in my post on Star Wars Toys We Really Want To See, so all I really need to add is that this is pretty much a celebration of one seriously obscure character from The Empire Strikes Back, who, (one suspects probably through a wee little bit of racial profiling) may or may not be looting Bespin when the shit hits the fan, and is seen to be making off with what looks like an ice-cream making machine. 
Yeah, I know, real Big Picture stuff, right?  But Star Wars fans have a propensity for seeking out and glorifying the obscure reference, so the Willrow Hood (that's the character's name BTW), Running of the Hoods Day is as much a celebration of that, as well as a re-enactment of that least-famous scene from 'Empire'. 

There is some bullshit background on Willrow Hood here where it is explained that he is not, as his name would clearly suggest, knicking anything, but actually making off with a computer core containing Rebel contacts.  Or maybe he did that with a USB stick, and he knicked an ice-cream-making machine on the way anyway.  Incidentally, the hunt is on to find the actor who played Willrow Hood.  Maybe because he would be a riot at conventions, but then again, maybe because he really did make off with that Ice-Cream Making machine after all.

August 27  International Cosplay Day

The Beyonder Vs Everybody.  Everybody better run!

Cosplay is a Japanese term for Costume Play, and while Costume Playing probably started with Trekkie conventions, but was perfected in Japan, where the largest event featuring Cosplay is the semi-annual doujinshi (fan-made comics) market Comiket held in Tokyo.  Cosplay spills out on the street in Tokyo as well, and influences street fashion.  Harajuku used to be a regular Sunday cosplay outdoor fashion extravaganza, but apparently recently that has died down.  Better luck around Akihabara or the Otaku section of Ikebukuro around the Butler Cafes and Doujinshi shops. 

Anime Kigurumi Cosplayers.  Never what they seem...

Tokyo Comiket Cosplay

Pop Culture Cosplay is now a world-wide phenomenon, so grab your costume, or stitch one up if you don't have one, and go outside and disturb random strangers with your comic-ready Jack-Of-Hearts costume! 

Cosplay Win
Cosplay Fail

Beyonce getting into the spirit of things.

August 28  International Read Comics in Public Day (Jack Kirby's Birthday)

A young lady in the 1950's, clearly ahead of her time.

Hey, remember running on down to your local newsstand with your toffee apple and your pocket money, and blowing it all on comics, and sitting down next to the fire hydrant and reading a stack of comics all day!  Naw, me neither.  These days it's all e-comics on tablets, tucked safely in your home or basement, living in perpetual fear of being laughed at for being a crazed under-pants fetish pamphlet-reader.  Well, NO MORE!  On this day, it's time to reclaim the streets.  It's time to reclaim coolness, and show all those hipster fucks that they don't own The Avengers just because they're Joss Whedon fans, YOU DO, because you've been reading The Avengers for AGES!!!

A recent celebration (as of 2010) as a result of the co-creators of the Daily Cross Hatch site having felt vaguely embarrassed about reading a comic in public, and realising that they shouldn't have to.  Right On!  As well as airing out your subversive collection in public, there appears to be a hipster conspiracy to Instragram shots of you reading your favourite comic in public.  You know, just to jump on the Cool Bandwagon.  That's ok, let them have their play.  Just get out there and don't be afraid to show the world why comics are sexy as hell!

Can you see what's wrong with this picture?  
Yes, that's right.  
No-one would be caught dead reading an issue of 'Spitfire and the Troubleshooters' in public.
Mind you, it's Read Comics in Public Day Everyday in Japan.

Look at some idiot Instagram shots here

The date was presumably chosen in honour of Jack Kirby's Birthday.  Also a great excuse to post this awesome pic.

And smoke a cigar in honour of The King.  Make It So. 

September 19  International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Apparently the only holiday to come about as a result of a sports injury, International Talk Like A Pirate Day has been around for nearly 20 years now, and encourages all Pirate cliches to be indulged in.  How good is that!  Started by a couple of salty dogs by the name of Ol' Chumbucket and Cap'n Slappy, International Talk Like a Pirate Day is spreading around the world, wherever all good ships are attacked by honest, hard-working pirates and land lubbers alike.  Now officially endorced by the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. 

I said Pirate Day, not...oh, all right.  Go on then.

Things to do on International Talk Like A Pirate Day:

Shiver Me Timbers!
Double Arr
Ye Be Talkin' Through yer Parrot

Crank Alestorm!

Talk Like A Pirate Day

September 22  Bilbo and Frodo's Birthdays

As all good Tolkiendil know, Bilbo Baggins and Frodo baggins share the same birthday, Halimath 22 on the Shire Calendar.  Bilbo was born in 1290 Shire Age (2890 Third Age) and Frodo was born in 1368 Shire Age (2968 Third Age).  Halimath equates to the month of September, but due to a discrepancy between the Shire Calendar and our Gregorian Calendar, this actually means that the Baggins' Birthday actually falls somewhere around September 12 - 14 on our calendar.  Confusing?  Put down that Longbottom Bong and join the rest of us.

Things to do for Bilbo and Frodo's Birthday

 Choof on some Old Toby
 Get all Doctor Strange on some Southfarthing Leaf
Avoid the Brown Acid

Hobbit Day

September 28  Ask A Stupid Question Day

A US holiday, occasionally observed in the US, usually between teachers and students, often observed on the last schoolday of September in the US.  The idea is to get students to ask questions that they would normally be reluctant to ask for fear of being ridiculed.

For people working in retail, however, this holiday is pretty much observed on a daily basis.

Here are some questions posed by celebrities, to get into the spirit of things:

“What’s Wal-Mart? Do they sell, like wall stuff?” — Paris Hilton 

“So, where’s the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?” — Christina Aguilera  

"Do you have blacks, too?" --George W Bush to Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso

"Are you any relation to your brother Marv?" - Leon Wood, New Jersey Nets guard, to Steve Albert, Nets TV commentator

"Doesn't that hurt?" - Anna Nicole Smith, on suicide bombers

 "If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat?" - Tom Snyder, talk show host

And some stupid questions as asked on Yahoo:

"Does looking at a picture of the sun hurt your eyes?"

"Do midgets have night vision?"

"What incantations work best for summoning Jesus?"

"Is there any possible way to make 2+2=5?"

"I made Jesus shaped pancakes but I burned them.  Am I going to hell?"

"I caught my son having sex with a guy and I think he might be gay.  Is there a definitive way to tell?"

Q&A at the Australian Tourism Website

And, every now and then, stupid questions actually make us think.

"How famous do you have to be to be considered assassinated instead of just being murdered?"

"They say practice makes perfect, they also say that nobody is perfect, so why do we practice?"

"Why does mineral water that has "trickled through mountains for centuries" go out of date next year?"

"Why isn't phonetic spelled the way it sounds?"

"If you are driving at the speed of light and you turn your headlights on, what happens?"

Ask A Stupid Question Day

October 3  Virus Appreciation Day

There appears to be some confusion as to whether it refers to the Computer Virus, or the Biological Virus, and the initiators of the holiday are consciously anonymous.  Perhaps a biological virus took them out, or they didn't celebrate Global Handwashing Day but in any event, let's stick with the Computer version, for the sake of keeping with the geek theme of this entry.

One suspects that someone in the anti-virus software industry is beating this up to sell more Y2K re-writes.

If you have trouble with the above link, click here

For the more adventurous, why not go out of your way to catch some malware?  Turn off your firewall and anti-virus software, the scout around Russian porn sites, or type in the latest Hollywood bimbo, followed by the word 'nude' and indiscriminately start downloading.  Get into some keygen pages and scout around for popular software cracks, that's almost a guarantee right there.  Or just ask some nice folk over at 4Chan for help getting your computer infected.  They will be more than helpful, and you may end up with way more than you bargained with.  If that sounds like too much work just go into Google and start typing in some keywords like 'Jihad', 'Unabomber', or 'Kill Whitey', and let the NSA do the rest.  Have fun!

Macs don't get viruses?

Virus Appreciation Day

October 9  International Talk Like Brian Blessed Day

Brian Blessed celebrating Talk Like A Pirate Day

All right, confession time.  I invented International Talk Like Brian Blessed Day.  Maybe.  It goes like this.

I was out Yarring and Talking like a Pirate one fine September 19, when it hit me.  Why isn't there a Talk Like A Dalek Day, or a Talk Like Brian Blessed Day?  So, doing what folks do when hit by an idea of this magnitude, I jumped of Facebook and started a page...

International Talk Like Brian Blessed Day

I chose October 9, because it is Brian Blessed's birthday, figuring that the day probably wouldn't take off, and if it did, he'd probably get annoyed with everybody trying to talk like him when he's celebrating his birthday that he'd track down the culprit and I'd finally get to meet him.

Only now that I'm doing a bit more research, it seems that I'm not the only one with the idea.  Other folk have also had the same bright idea (or stole mine) and picked other dates.  19 Feb, April 20, Oct 12 (oohh...close), April 10 and Dec 12 are some of the dates I've randomly found proposed to be Talk Like Brian Blessed Day.  But, my idea, my blog, so October 9 it is.  Get out there, howl your lungs to the winds, campaign to have Brian Blessed as the voice for GPS's or Stephen Hawking, and at the end of the day, if you still have your voice, you're doing it wrong!

No one clip could do justice to this epic voice, but his commentary on snooker here is sublime.

October 11  Federation Day (Star Trek)

Not much fun happening in this sector, Number One

Federation Day is a celebration, within the Star Trek Universe, of the founding of the United Federation of Planets.  A non-canon newsclipping has dated Federation Day to October 11, but other non-canon sources have also dated F-Day as August 12, May 8 or June 30.  Again, there doesn't seem to be consensus as to how to celebrate Federation Day outside of the Star Trek Universe, but I'm betting that random episodes of Star Trek are in for a viewing.  

Let's face it, the real party's over in the Star Wars camp.

...with one exception.

Federation Day

October 14  Spider-Man's Birthday

Spider-Man (Earth 616) has a birthday?  Not an anniversary of his first appearance in comics (which was June 5, 1962 BTW), but an actual, y'know, birthday.  Like us.
Well, according to New York Comic-Con for 2012, Spider-Man's Birthday was the last day of NYCC, which fell on October 14.  On what grounds?   Time Entertainment refers to the date, in relation to the NYCC.   New York City Mayor’s Office announced October 14 as Spider-Man’s official birthday via official proclamation from New York City Mayor Bloomberg.  But why October 14?  Was it just to co-incide with the last day of NYCC?  Probably.

Who Cares!

Put on some web-shooters and swing around your home town!  Jump from rooftop to rooftop, throwing cake at random folk!  Accost strangers in the park and read Spider-Man comics to them! 

It's just a shame that Spider-Man isn't quite himself these days to celebrate his own birthday.  Oh well... 

Spider Man's Birthday

October 21  Back To The Future Day

2 more years...
1 more year...
This Year!

The Countdown to Hoverboards is on!

Back To The Future Day

There shouldn't be any confusion about this day.  After all, it appeared in in the movie, right?  Back to the Future sets a specific day for when Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel to the future.  And that day is rapidly approaching.  But hoax Back To The Future Days appear every now and then, using some kind of Photoshop trickery of a Back To The Future Day Hoax Generator, or something.    

Back to the Future Day Hoaxes

So just a couple more short years until we get hover-boards, right?  Right?

October 31  Halloween (heavy metal holiday, cosplay)

Most folks like dressing up in mildly scary costumes for Trick or Treating, at least in Scotland, Ireland and the States.  In Japan, anything goes and elsewhere, well, the whole cosplay thing is still kinda catching on.  But a Cosplay Holiday is still a Cosplay Holiday.
Most probably based on the Celtic Festival of Samhain (SAH-win), the holiday was christianised to commemorate All Saint's Day.  The idea being that in deepest darkest times, there was a day between the end of the calendar year, and the beginning of the next, where the spirits of the dead were allowed to roam the world.  Similar in principal is the Japanese O-Bon festival, which takes place in July or August, depending on which part of Japan you live in, but they save the cosplay for Halloween.

Needless to say, Halloween and Heavy Metal are a match made in Hell.

King Diamond celebrates Halloween Every Day
Suggested Playlist

November 2  Steve Ditko's Birthday

Not a holiday as such, but a great excuse to re-read some classic Silver Age Spider-Man and Doctor Strange!

November 23  Anniversary of first transmission of Doctor Who

All right, Whovians!  2013 is the Big One!  50 years of Doctor Who!  Get Real Ready!  No amount of gushing I do will do justice to the cultural juggernaut that is Doctor Who.  A cranky old man travels through Time and Space in a Blue Closet in 1963, and 50 years later, the Royal Mail releases commemorative stamps in anticipation of an Internet-melting event.  With the new Doctor announced, and a raging debate over whether John Hurt was a one-off Doctor, things are reaching a geek climax, which will explode on November 23 2013.  We are bracing for Dalek attacks across the Thames, long scarves tripping up Cybermen, Sontaran and Rutans brokering a peace, and the incessant buzz of a million Sonic Screwdrivers.  Bring a couch to hide behind!

I couldn't choose which Doctor to cosplay, so I came as all of them!
Get your Dancing Pants On!

December 25  Bruce Wayne's parents murdered

While you're spending time with your folks at Christmas, stuffing your face with more food and groaning at lame christmas cracker jokes, spare a thought for poor Bats.  Batman hates Christmas.  Why?  Oh boy.

It all comes down to the moment Batman was born, in Crime Alley, between his parents, murdered in front of an 8 year old Bruce Wayne.  The details of his origin are slightly different, depending on whether you follow Pre-Crisis, Year Two, the New 52, or the movies, but the gist is pretty much that a mugger named Joe Chill (or the Joker in the movies) tries to rob Bruce Wayne's rich parents after the family come out of a movie theatre (having watched 'Zorro'), the mugging goes wrong, they are shot in front of little Bruce, and thus is born a Dark Knight.  That's tragic enough, right?

But wait.  It gets worse.

In an episode of the light-hearted animated 'The Brave and the Bold', the origin is tweaked a little further.  In 'Invasion of the Secret Santas', Bruce has a series of flashbacks, now set on Christmas Day, where he is a snotty brat who doesn't like the toy he gets for Christmas, so in order to placate him, Thomas Wayne suggests they go and see 'Zorro' at the cinema.  Bruce doesn't wanna, and insists on going home.  Guess what happens next?

But is that really a cause for celebration?  Hells yeah!  Christmas in your Batman costume, wrecking christmas trees and breaking presents!  Best. Christmas. Ever!  There's an Instagram moment right there!

December 28  Stan Lee's Birthday

Again, an excuse to  go back over your Marvel Silver-Age comics (or trade reprints, or Digital copies) and have a read of the Master of Pop-Culture Hyperbole!  And get ready for another year of Geek Holidays!  'Nuff Said!

Bonus Otaku Event, Japan Only   The "Balse Tweet Matsuri"

No set date for this one, but it happens whenever Studio Ghibli movie Tenkū no Shiro Rapyuta (Castle in the Sky) is aired on Japanese TV.   The deal is, fans have their tweet at the ready, and at the exact moment the word 'Balse' is uttered in the movie, they unleash Twitter Hell.  Miyazaki Otaku monstered the Twitter Global Peak in a Single Second World Record  at 11:21:50 p.m. Japan Standard Time on August 2, 2013, tweeting 'Balse' 143,199 times (the previous world record was 33,388).  No-one obsesses quite like the Japanese.  And I love it!  

Miyazaki fans break Twitter. Again.

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