Friday, May 23, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Okay, so I'm a geek. No, I'm an uber-geek.

I work at a facility that provides therapy and case management for kids, so we always keep coloring pages handy to entertain those who don't like Legos and cars and blocks. Occasionally, we get a coloring book and copy pages out of it. This one was called "garden friends". Bugs. Flowers. Rodents. Kittens. You get the idea.

One of the pages was a very simple praying mantis. And I always want to spell that "preying". Anyway, it was just bold outlines. Big bug eyes. A little sidewise grin (as if insects can grin). Floppy antennae. Head and neck only. Cute-ish.

A blank slate.

So the receptionist, Missi, gets the idea to copy off a bunch of mantises and color them to Spring up the place. Just solid colors at first, but then she got more creative. Patterns. Polka dots, etc. So I nab a couple and color away. Tri-dots on one, camouflage on the other. She does one biker-black with flames and another tie-dyed.

And then, it happened. It's all Brandon's fault. He's one of the caseworkers, and he colored one like Marge Simpson without the tower of hair. Yeah. And then, he dropped the bombshell.

"I bet you could make one Batman!"

It was as good as a challenge, and my friends know how I take to challenges -- like a saiyan to an all-you-can-eat buffet. In about ten minutes, I had tossed out a Batmantis and moved on to Supermantis.

Of course, I drew the S insignia backwards, but so what? I'm dyslexic. Sue me.

Missi threw out a Spider-Mantis, and another caseworker somehow pulled a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle out of her...pocket. Michaelangelo, to be exact, though he's missing his nunchucks. It was officially a "thing".

But those two were only the beginning. Since my break was over, I decided to take a bunch of pages home and Google some comic book character images. I was particularly looking for the Justice League. Before hitting the sack, I'd put out Dr. Fate, Wonder Woman, J'onn J'onzz (the Martian Manhunter), Green Lantern, the Flash, Deadpool, and the Joker. A lion and a monkey. And a geisha with little red chopsticks decorated with dragons in her bun and little lavendar flowers on her obi.

Now, before you get to thinking that I considered myself an uber-geek at this point, keep in mind that I was only a regular geek then. I love my comic characters, but there's nothing wrong with having that much fun being goofy, no matter how much Brandon teases me about the "perfection" of my shading.


The problem is that I can't just color 2-D. Everyone else was making characters and animals and such, too, and doing quite well at it. Missi threw out some Disney characters that you wouldn't believe -- her masterpieces are Piglet, Pooh, and Eeyore. She also did a Hulk to end all Hulks. Purple pants and everything, although we're still dealing with just the head and neck, here. She added a page or two to the bottom and drew freehand. Giraffes and cows and Robin (to go with Batman) and so on.

It wasn't just me, is all I'm saying. I didn't go beyond comics geek until that second night.

Dark Helmet may well have gone to plaid, but I...went to Star Wars. Yes, Star Wars.

That particular grouping started when Brandon -- again, he's Mr. Instigation -- mentioned something I simply couldn't pass up. Darth Maul. I could just see it, so when I went home, I pulled up a promo pic and went right to it. And then did Yoda. And Princess Leia (in her early outfit with the cinnamon-bun hair, not the pervy gold bikini thing). Even Boba Fett, and don't think I didn't have enormous fun drawing out the armor and helmet.

And...Chewbacca. Yes, I doodled Chewbacca the Mantis. Mid-ululation.

It was at this point, ladies and gentlemen, that I became the uber-geek. It started with just a little coloring to spruce the place up and escalated to Sith Mantis level. Heh. The Star Wars bugs became a hit, and the hits just kept on coming.

The next night was batting clean-up. I did a C3PO to round out my Star Wars cast. Wolverine, Captain America, and Daredevil for the superhero clique. A dragon to go in the "animal" section. Robin Hood and the feather in his hat. A tattered mummy and cape-clad Dracula, complete with fangs.

And, to my infinite shame, a pretty fairy princess all done up to the nines. Jewelry included, if you believe it. Wings and everything. I wanted to disclaim it, but they wouldn't let me. And I couldn't not do the infamous shading that so gives me away.

Tonight, I've already outlined the Tick and Arthur, Hellboy, Spawn, and Iron Man (I'm not sure how he'll turn out, since the armor suit is the most recognizable part there and I'm still sticking with just head-and-neck stuff). I'm doing my noble best to avoid doing DBZ characters, although my beloved Kakarot is sooooooo calling my name. I mean, I could do 4 variations of Goku himself -- normal, Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan 3 (2 looks too much like 1 to mess with trying to get the lightning bolts right), and Super Saiyan 4. And there's always Vegeta's tower of hair that's so distinctive. And Piccolo in all his green namek splendor.

Oh, and Frieza. But that thing would probably just scare the kids....

Anyway, I might actually be able to post some pictures of the ridiculousness we've gotten up to at work, but that depends on a few things. My cell phone pics won't upload unless I pay extra for a plan. A good friend at work -- thanks, Darcalus! -- took some digital pics to upload, but I won't hold him to posting them. They're a waste of web space, heh.

At any rate, geekiness aside, it has been fun, and it's totally infected the entire office -- in fact, the entire organization. In three days, we went from bugless walls to 75 bugs. I think I did about 28 of them, and I'm pretty sure Missi has done at least that many, if not more. But that leaves quite a few singles from caseworkers, the patient accounts pool, etc. We have baseball players, cowboys, an angel and devil combo, farm animals, SpongeBob Squarepants, and -- my personal favorite -- a self-portrait by one of the therapists. Priceless.

Materials Management has taken up the torch and is steadily filling their walls. My own supervisor took a few copies over to her building and passed them out to the other records people. They'll probably go up on our walls, too, to join the masses already holding court.

We've even got our clients handing a few in here and there, and we'll probably get way more of them next week. Those, we're taping up in the waiting room for the kids to see and enjoy more closely than on our office walls. Plaids and stripes. Polka dots and solids.

All in good fun.

But I'm still an uber-geek. *sheepish* And I still feel like such a dork for getting such a kick out of doodling on a mantis. What a riot.

Thank God I'm getting out of the house this weekend for a couple of hours to watch the new Indiana Jones flick. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure I'd have all of the DBZ guys. And probably the Venture Brothers, too. And a few more X-Men. Elvis and Marilyn. Elton John, anyone??

Stop me now! Please!


At 2:18 PM, Blogger Bulma16 said...

I have to see those pics. That level of geekiness must be seen to be believed *snerks and runs*

At 12:38 PM, Blogger GutterBall said...


You have NO idea. My geekiness apparently knows no bounds. But yeah, until I can get my cell phone pics out without paying for it, my geekdom will simply have to remain imaginary for you. Bwahah.


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