Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Joy of Grumpy Old Men

To be clear, one does not need to be chronologically aged nor necessarily male to qualify for the category of "Grumpy Old Man". And "grumpy" does not equate "nasty", "creepy", or "mean". It denotes a state of "grump", wherein a mostly positive world view is balanced with a realistic dash of snark. It is a category that I regard with great affection. Many of my most beloved friends and family - including the individual I plan to marry next year - fall into this category. In fact, the hint of "Grumpy Old Man"-ness (aka GOM-ness) in a person tends to alert me that we will probably get along just fine.

Today's t-shirt is from the wonderful world of Teefury where awesome new geek-tastic tees can be seen and bought everyday... but ONLY for a day. As their motto says,"Tee Today, Gone Tomorrow"

This t-shirt was entitled "Frakking Awful" and comes from the artistic mind of Matt Dearden whose other past t-shirts have drawn inspiration from Chuck, Mad Men, House, Dexter, and Tron.  As nice as these other shirts are/were, "Frakking Awful" was an immediate must-buy for me as it drew from both The Muppet Show and the Ronald D Moore Battlestar Galactica

A quick confession: When the reimagined Battlestar was announced, I was incredibly excited about the news. I was a huge fan of the campy, Star-Wars-rip-off 70s series. I wanted a robotic daggitt like Boxey had. I wanted to fly Vipers. I wanted to be as pretty as Serina (later that was amended to Dr. Quinn and, as of last night, the outrageously amazing Colleen Bash). And, most of all, nine-year-old me wanted to marry Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) - which I told him when I met him in person two years ago. So, all ramped up with child-like adoration, I watched the pilot mini-series. I had already learned that Starbuck had been re-scripted as a woman, Kara Thrace, played by Katee Sackhoff, which set me a little back on my heels but when Boomer, who was also re-scripted as a woman and no longer the big burly black man from the original series, was revealed to be a sleeper Cylon, I turned off the TV as the credits ran and felt incredibly betrayed. So when the show was picked up as a series, I carefully avoided it despite the praise it garnered from trusted sources. It was probably over a year after the series wrapped before I could bring myself to watch it and, once I'd locked away the outraged nine-year-old me in my head, I had to admit it was a great series. 

Although it was a great thrill when Edward James Olmos (portrayed in today's t-shirt as Statler/Adama - errr, on the right) followed me on Twitter (he follows back everyone), I have never met the man in person. Love his support of Water Keepers and deeply admire his body of work in Hollywood but, alas, never scored a face-to-face with the man who saved humanity. Michael Hogan (Waldorf/Saul Tigh) was back in Vancouver a couple of summers ago (filming Red Riding Hood, I believe) and I did get to meet him briefly and though I did get a distinct GOM vibe off him, our interaction wasn't long enough to really blog about.

So, to take a tangential path: During Comic-Con San Diego 2010, I happened to meet the BSG Chief himself, Aaron Douglas, and began our conversation by admitting to him that I hadn't been able to watch his show while it aired although, I assured him, the situation had been remedied since. In typical Douglas, he was witty and understanding and to-the-point in his response. "That's okay," he said,"I didn't watch your show either." 
**** Ah-ha, GOM detected! ****

Apologies to Wil Wheaton for cropping him out in this one

Now, the key to the lovability of GOMs is that they are capable of quiet, intense acts of thoughtfulness. One that I worked with at my last school was my own personal Santa Claus. Classroom too hot? He arrives with an industrial-sized laboratory fan. Need more caffeine in the mornings? Coffee-maker appears on my desk the next morning. Mysterious doughnut delivered to a dark, locked and unoccupied room? It was not, as I initially thought, an ACME roadrunner trap. It was my bristly, caustic GOM neighbour. Mr. Douglas is much the same way but with the twist of celebrity. A month before Christmas 2009, he started a campaign through his LiveJournal and Twitter-feed to provide a local hospital with portable DVD players and a library of DVDs for patients and family members visiting long-term care patients. It was a wonderful idea and the Lion's Gate Hospital benefited from this campaign as a legacy in the name of Richard McArthur, the father of one of the BSG producers. When I followed up on how the campaign went with Aaron in person in 2010, he happily recounted the outpouring of support from fans, as well as the cast and crew of BSG. In detail, he described how, at McArthur's funeral, each member of the cast brought a brand-new, boxed portable DVD player for the cause and presented it to the producer. By the end, she was completely hidden by the pile she was carrying. Aaron has also supported the promotion of his brother's book sales through his social media platforms and EmCee'd a fundraiser for Vancouver-based band The Town Pants last year when their van and equipment was stolen (Van - sans equipment - was recovered later with the help of a roller derby girl. Seriously). Mr. Douglas is a first-class, softy-in-the-centre, Grumpy Old Man. Not bad for a frakkin' toaster.

So, the next time, you're yelled at to get off a lawn or you're lectured on how things were better when they were young, remember that you're probably in the presence of one of these secretly awesome individuals. Of course, if you're reading this, you may very well be the GOM in the situation. And that makes me happy.