So the craziest thing happened to me the other day. I was riding around post-apocalyptic North America, delivering the mail, when I came to a city. And this guy straight up asks me to have sex with Olivia Williams! And not Dollhouse Olivia Williams, who is still very attractive, but 1995 Olivia Williams. And get this — she's his wife! Apparently they want a kid, and the guy's boys don't swim, so they ask me — the goddamn mailman — to impregnate her. Being a mailman is awesome. As always, email your questions to email@example.com, and now, on with your letters!
The New Breed
I have been planning my apocalypse survival plan for quite some time (bug out bag, routes, base of operations, best places to find supplies, etc). Recently, I have reached the point of incorporating others into my strategy: I have several handy, multi-skilled friends whom I have offered safe haven in my castle. However, I always make the point that no one rides for free. In order to qualify to join my crew, you must bring a useful set of skills to the group. My wife has a black belt in jujitsu that includes training in a wide variety of melée weapons (many of which she owns). My second-in-command is a bow-hunter and medic.
I was sounding out some colleagues about this a while back, and one of my colleagues got a little down on herself. She didn't feel like her Ph.D. in Literature and her years as a graduate T.A. would bring any useful skills to the group. (I felt the same way, and told her so.) However, she put forward the idea that she would happily join us as a breeding female, being young and willing to help repopulate.
Is this a skill set I should be including in my survival group? Do I need to take responsibility for this, or can I leave it to other ragtag bands of survivors. I'll be bringing my wife, but it might be nice to have a back-up. Then again, until repopulation becomes an option, she is a useless mouth to feed and protect. Your thoughts?
Well, it depends on how invested you are in the survival of the human race. I know some people are very into the whole "let's continue propagating the species" thing — what with giving birth to children and all — and that's fine, but it's not something I personally feel a strong need to do. When the zombie apocalypse happens, I'm letting humanity fend for itself, so to speak. Also, carrying a baby around the zombie apocalypse is going to be a lot of fucking trouble. Even if the mother doesn't need emergency C-sections like Lori in the The Walking Dead, babies are just small lumps of need with absolutely no ability to contribute to the group (for a minimum of 10 years, and that's assuming they go psycho like Carl). And babies cry. Constantly. It'd be like carrying around a car alarm that randomly goes off and poops a lot.
As for your co-worker, I wouldn't dismiss her. Can she hold a bat and hit a zombie in the head? If so, she's hardly useless. Worst case scenario, even if she's terrible at zombie fighting, then she's still someone the zombies might eat instead of you, increasing your chances of survival even slightly. However, I'm mildly worried that seeing herself as only "a breeding female" speaks to some kind of self-esteem issue; maybe you could tell her to start honing a useful post-apocalyptic skill, like archery or lockpicking?
That said I would love to hear the post-apocalyptic conversation where you try to explain to your wife why you need to sleep with your hot co-worker. "It's for the human race, baby!"
When the 19th of October, 2012 came and went without the promised premiere of Community, the cast of Community insisted that October 19 is a state of mind rather than a specific calendar date. To my shame, I have not been able to fully embrace a state of October 19-ness, which is more a personal failing than the fault of NBC to fucking air awesome shows when they've fucking promised to do so. My question to you is: How can one cultivate a true sense of October 19-ness? And can the existence of this sublime October 19-ness tide me over until the point where Community actually does begin to run again?
First of all, put a calendar in every room. Open them all to October. Circle the 19th on each of them with a big red marker. Put up Halloween decorations, so you can say to yourself, "Boy, it sure looks like Halloween is coming up soon!" Try to meditate on Joel McHale's abs, or something.
At any rate, the fourth season of Community will air on February 7 — theoretically — so this will all be moot in less than a month. I'd suggest spending your time writing letters to NBC about how much they suck.
Islands in the Stream
In last week's "Postal Apocalypse," you said "many islands float." Which ones? Name a few.
Uh… the floating island from The Floating Island. Laputa from Gulliver's Travels. The island from Castle in the Sky… which was also called Laputa. Spidermonkey Island from Doctor Doolittle. Look, I'm a fake postman in post-apocalyptic North America. I didn't get much of a formal education, all right?
Kicking ol' George Lucas around for plot holes in the Star Wars movies isn't exactly a new thing, but when I caught a recent re-run of Episode IV, a new problem kind of jumped out at me.
Specifially, who shot Vader's wingman?
Han had Luke jump into a turret to shoot TIE fighters, so presumably there aren't any 'main guns' on the Falcon.
So when Han makes his triumphant return to shoot Darth Vader's wingman.... who is shooting?
Go look at the movie. I'll wait.
Darth says, "I have you now..." and then someone shoots his wingman. Cut to Han's "Yahooo!" Did Chewie clamber into a turret? Presumably not, since when Han gives the "Great shot kid, that was one in a million!" line, Chewie is right next to him?
Who was the second shooter? Or does the Falcon have some kind of main gun we didn't know about? Did Han lean out of a window?
You're overthinking it. Han can control the "turrets" — better known as quad lasers to Star Wars nerds such as myself — from the cockpit; they'd be pretty useless if he couldn't. Now, there's no way he can control them as well from the cockpit as he could while sitting in the turret, but for simply firing at a TIE Fighter, straight ahead of him? No problem at all.
I imagine the reason he and Luke went into the turrets to fire was because the TIE Fighters were actually attacking the Falcon, and TIE Fighters are pretty maneuverable. Since they were flying all around the ship, it made sense for Han and Luke to get in the turrets, above and below, and fire manually — it would give them much greater accuracy. Although it's possible I may be overthinking it now.
I'm always asking people what their favorite future would be. But, since I live in an inner city, nerd culture does not thrive as much as I would like. So, my good sir, if you had a choice to live in a post-apocalyptic world, like Book of Eli or a future like Total Recall or Fifth Element, or maybe one I haven't listed, let me know, thanks!
I have no desire to live in a post-apocalypse. Besides having zero skills (and not even a vagina for breeding!) I would be completely doomed. Plus, I enjoy air-conditioning waaaaay too much. So I'll take a sci-fi future, thank you.
As for which one, I really wouldn't mind a Star Trek future where the all the countries in the world join together for the betterment of all of humanity and start exploring the universe, although I find it more optimistic than realistic. But if it's just me we're talking about, I'd take the future envisioned by Neal Stephenson in The Diamond Age, where nanotech can do pretty much anything while society is in a neo-Victorian phase so everyone dresses fancy and is polite. It's hard to describe if you haven't read it, but suffice to say it's both bewildering and bewilderingly cool.
If the presidents won't build a Death Star, what's the point of that stupid petition? Is there any chance of anything cool being built?
None whatsoever. Given how much shit the president gets when he tries to do anything, can you imagine the furor if he actually tried to spend a portion of the budget on building something — anything — for a bunch of nerds? It would be insane. Politicians would lose their minds. It would be Fox News' wet dream.
I don't know whose idea the White House petition site was, but I guarantee you everyone in the office is giving him dirty looks now. Because every president is going to be flooded with ridiculous requests to build a 1:1-scale model of the Enterprise in the Grand Canyon, put John Barrowman in charge of The Sexy Committee to Investigate Sexiness, and god knows what else from now until they shut the damn thing down. And those are the fun requests. For every petition that the President run a national Dungeons & Dragons game every Sunday from 5-7pm, you know there are eight petitions to give kindergarten teachers flamethrowers.
Do you have a letter for or to the Postman? Questions about nerd culture? Queries about Ideas you want to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!