Off Topic: No One’s Gay for Moleman

In my sixth anniversary post, I lamented the lack of Simpsons content on Superior Realities. I think it’d be too big a change of direction if I started talking about The Simpsons all the time, but I have decided it’s high time I do at least one post on the matter.

I always wondered if there was a god, and now I know there is. And it's me.It may not often come up on this blog, but I am a massive Simpsons fan. I’m every bit as obsessed with it as I am with Warcraft or Metric. It’s a pillar of my life and always has been. I grew up watching The Simpsons — I literally can’t remember life without it — and I’ve continued to be a fan to this day.

Yes, this does mean I’m one of those people who still thinks The Simpsons is funny after all this time. I’ll definitely grant that it’s a lot more hit and miss than it once was, but there are still good episodes, and even the more mediocre ones still usually have at least one or two excellent lines (“This simulation has been brought to you by Your Brain, a subsidiary of Your Penis”).

Honestly if you ask me the real nadir of the series was probably around seasons eight and nine. That one where it turns out Principal Skinner is an impostor? Ugh, just dreadful.

And I think some of the best episodes have come from relatively recent seasons. I’d say “Mona Leaves-a” from season nineteen is probably the most emotional episode of the series, intensely bittersweet while still managing to bring some humour to the tragedy.

Then there’s season twenty-three’s “The Book Job,” which is easily one of my all-time favourites. I’m totally biased, of course, but I think that episode is absolutely brilliant, and I’d consider it required viewing for anyone who has written or even thought about writing a novel.

The Book JobPlus you get to hear Neil Gaiman doing a terrible American accent. What’s not to love?

Normally Simpsons holiday episodes are pretty bad, but “Holidays of Future Passed,” also from season twenty-three, was a rare exception, being both funny and heartfelt. In general I’m fascinated by the whole alternate continuity that has been developed through the various flash forward episodes.

Interestingly, the one other holiday episode that I enjoy is also from a modern season: season twenty-six’s “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas.” I like it because it has a very simple premise — even if it goes to some pretty weird places along the way — and it puts Homer in an unusually positive light. For once, he’s the wronged party; he did everything right.

I can think of lots of other examples, but the point is, I’m still having fun with the show.

Of course, I also have lots of love for the “classic” days, as well. Never going to stop loving the Stonecutters, hired goons, Evil Homer, sixty-four slices of American cheese, or the cursed frogurt.

There are some fascinating things about a show that’s been around as long as The Simpsons. I’m always amused by its take on continuity.

Bart's sons in the futureYou might say The Simpsons has no continuity, and you’d be mostly right, but not entirely. Things rarely change in Springfield, but sometimes they do, and you can never predict which changes will stick. I fully expected Comic Book Guy’s wife to be a one-off character, but she’s still showing up from time to time, as is Selma’s daughter.

The Simpsons kids never age, but oddly, some of the show’s other children do. Both Ling Bouvier and the Nahasapeemapetilon octuplets have visibly aged since they first appeared, though not enough to reflect the actual real world time that has passed.

Bizarrely, though, Jamshed Nahasapeemapetilon has aged in real time and is now an adult.

Under other circumstances, this level of inconsistency might be frustrating, but at this point it’s just part of The Simpsons’ charm. Springfield exists in a surreal nether realm where the logic of our world simply doesn’t apply.

The Simpsons’ long run can also make it a fascinating sort of cultural barometer. Earlier on, computers and the Internet were treated as some novelty the characters rarely interacted with. Now Lisa’s doing research on Google all the time and the rest of the family all have smartphones and tablets.

It's like kissing a peanutHomer used to be intensely homophobic, but now he’s evolved beyond all that, and the number of openly gay Springfieldians has increased significantly. Even if no one’s gay for Moleman.

The Simpsons is, if nothing else, unique. Even if it did stop being funny, I’d probably still watch. It’s just a part of who I am at this point. I’ve probably spent at least as much time with them as I have with my real family…


Superior Realities Sixth Anniversary: Reflections

Six years have now past since the first post appeared on Superior Realities. Time flies when you’re yelling at Blizzard, I suppose.

The Greatest City in the WorldIn some ways it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, but in others it feels like a lifetime. I was still writing Dispatches from the Romulan War when this blog started, for crying out loud.

When the blog started, I lived in Toronto, then I moved to the country for a few years, then I moved back to the city. Seems like rather a lot of effort just to move from the west end to the east end.

I still miss Parkdale. My new neighbourhood is nice, too, but that’s the problem. It’s too nice. I’ve been here for going on two years now, and I’m still waiting to get the bum’s rush. I don’t fit in here.

I try to visit Parkdale as often as possible. I feel like I belong there. It’s the only place I’ve ever been where I’m not the weirdest person around.

When I lived in Toronto the first time, I lived with my father and a couple cats. Now that I’ve returned, I live alone with many books but no cats.

When the blog began, freelance writing was still some new and exciting adventure I was embarking upon. Now it’s just old hat.

Looks pretty in the picture, but it's really a miserable placeI’ve written… three novels since this blog started. I think. Three or four. Of course only one of them (Human Again) has seen the light of day so far. I’ve also written who knows how many short stories in that time.

Six years ago, I had hair. I should really update that profile picture at some point. Male pattern baldness can suck it, by the way.

When the site launched, I was a huge Metric fan, and now I’m a huge Metric fan who’s shaken Emily’s hand (best day ever). I’m also now a huge Chvrches fan, but I haven’t shaken Lauren’s hand.

When Superior Realities began, I was still in the process of re-entering the gaming world. Of course I’d been playing WoW for a while by then and had also played StarCraft II and maybe one or two other things, but I was still a bit out of the loop on the industry as a whole.

Since then I’ve broadened my horizons considerably. I eventually got around to most if not all of the games I missed out on during my teen years and embraced many modern classics, as well as a few more obscure titles. I hated Bioware for a while, then I kind of liked them, then I loved them, then I think I hated them again for a bit, and now I’m just generally confused.

They had real winters up there. That's somethingI’ve blogged through four WoW expansions, the rise and fall of my passion for Guild Wars 2, and my totally unexpected dive into Star Wars: The Old Republic. I fell in love with The Secret World, and now I’ve had to cope with its inglorious collapse. In general I’ve created enough MMO characters to form an entire battalion, and like half of them are named Maigraith.

I’ve mourned the cancellations of Defiance and Sanctuary, and I’ve fallen in love with Continuum, Dark Matter, and iZombie. I’ve reviewed some very good movies, and also Immortals.

It has been suggested I should take this opportunity to examine whether I’ve achieved my goals for the blog, to which I can only say… maybe? I guess?

Honestly I’m kind of losing sight of what the point was originally supposed to be. Nowadays blogging is just part of my routine; it’s not something I think a lot about. Just an excuse to run my mouth (figuratively speaking) without anyone trying to change the subject on me like they usually do.

I’m mostly happy with the traffic I get, though of course it’d always be nice to get more, and I do get a decent amount of attention within the greater community, so that’s nice.

Best day ever

Shake your head, it’s empty…

I will confess that I wish I got more comments, though. Figure pretty much every blogger wishes they got more comments, and compared to the handful of blogs I follow, I seem to get less comments than most. Not sure why this is, but I imagine it’s some combination of my terrible opinions, my long-winded endurance test of a writing style, and my cantankerous personality.

Of course, reflecting on the past also invariably leads one to pondering the future. For the most part, I suppose it will continue to be steady as she goes for Superior Realities for the immediate future.

I’m always mulling ideas for new types of content, but I dismiss almost all of them.

There’s often the temptation to expand beyond my relatively narrow sci-fi/fantasy/video game focus (the lack of Simpsons content on this blog saddens me sometimes), but at the same time I think there’s something to be said for keeping a clear vision for the site. I like the idea that my readers know what they’re getting: angry nerd rants and Elves.

I’ve thought about doing a series on various songs that I use for inspiration when writing fiction, but most people’s ears start bleeding when confronted with my musical taste.

I could also probably get a lot more posts out of the head canon and backstories for my video game characters, but my previous posts on that subject have the dubious distinction of being the least popular posts I’ve ever done by every available metric, so I probably won’t bother with that.

To winter I belongI tried my hand at video content recently, and there’s some temptation to do more of that, but it’s another thing that didn’t get much reaction. Plus I’m not sure I can bring anything to the table that the legions of YouTubers out there aren’t already covering, and I definitely have a voice for text (which is like a face for the radio, kind of).

I’m also often tempted to post more of my fiction and thoughts related to it on the blog, but again, such posts never seem to generate much interest, so I’m kind of gravitating away from that at this point.

Seriously, if you ever feel like doing me a favour, go read some of my stories and leave feedback. I don’t mind criticism as long as it’s constructive. I’m particularly interested in opinions on The Wounding and Lady of the Dawn, as that setting is very important to me, but In Her Sister’s Pose is probably the best thing I’ve written as far as short fiction goes.

Anyway, if any of these ideas sound like they’d interest you, or if you there’s something else you’d like to me to do with the blog, let me know, but otherwise it’s probably going to be status quo for the time being. There is many a Warcraft rant yet to be written.

In closing, I would like to thank my readers for sticking with me all this time. Be seeing you, sweetlings.

In the half-light.