Monday, December 1, 2008

The perfect Christmas gift

This morning, Victoria (one of the two professors that I work for) and I were discussing Christmas gifts that we were planning on buying for various friends and family. Though slightly embarrassed, she hesitantly confided in me the gift that she was planning on getting for some of her extended family, including I think her siblings and her husband's siblings. She is getting them all surge protector power strips.

To her credit, she is getting them cool eco-friendly power strips that automatically cut off power to the whole strip if the plug in the main socket is not drawing power. She explained to me that this was perfect if you have your computer plugged in the main socket and your printer, monitor, external hard drive, etc. plugged in the others so that if the computer is off you won't be draining energy away to all your unused plugged-in items. Furthermore, it can even be tuned to turn off these extra sockets if the main socket is only on low power (like if the computer is asleep). And there are one or two sockets that will always have power, in case there are things you want to keep on.

Now, this is all well and good; the world needs more green-conscious people, and these handy-dandy power strips/surge protectors will, in addition to helping the environment, save her family members money on their energy bills. But it does not help the fact that she is giving people power strips for Christmas.

The ever-insightful Weird Al taught us that the power strip is the supreme nerd gift; i.e., only the most ridiculously hopelessly clueless nerd would give someone a power strip as a gift. I am referring, of course, to his "White & Nerdy" music video. "White & Nerdy" is a flawless parody of Chamillionaire's "Ridin' (Dirty)", which is definitely worth checking out so you can fully appreciate the parody. Weird Al's "White & Nerdy" deftly mirrors the style and patterns of the original (and, as is typical of Weird Al parodies, at times even matches the rhyme schemes) while playing with the irony of setting the ultimate nerd lyrics to such a badass song. What makes the song truly brilliant, and also supremely entertaining to a nerd like me, is how spot-on Weird Al is with his list of all things nerdy. He nails the stereotypical nerd perfectly. The following is a selection of characteristics of the nerd, according to the "White & Nerdy" music video:

The nerd is an adept mathematician, physicist, and computer programmer. The nerd...
-is an MIT valedictorian
-knows an absurd number of digits of pi
-does vector calculus for fun
-is a master programmer in multiple languages
-is a fan of Stephen Hawking books

The nerd's hobbies/interests include...
-Star Trek (a must: fluency in Klingon)
-Star Wars
-AV club
-glee club
-chess team
-trivia games
-Monty Python and the Holy Grail
-Collecting action figures and X-Men comics
-Happy Days theme song
-Renaissance Faires

The nerd wears...
-a pocket protector
-a fanny pack
-underwear with name printed on back

The nerd enjoys...
-Earl Grey tea

The nerd's mode of transportation is...
-Segway (helmet required)

While surely it takes a special brand of nerd to write such a song, one must also be a nerd oneself to fully appreciate the song. My college roommate, whom I succeeded in educating in the ways of Star Wars but who is still totally clueless about Star Trek, did not understand the "fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon" line (she assumed Klingon was another computer language) or the "Do I like Kirk or do I like Picard" line. I happily filled her in, of course (and explained why Picard is the correct choice in the latter topic).

The video is the perfect complement to the song. Like the song itself, the video is done in a way that reflects the original "Ridin'" video. It depicts all of the things Weird Al is singing about, which really create quite funny pictures, and it adds numerous visual jokes. There are even a couple notable cameos: Seth Green goes by quickly in the action figure scene (Seth Green seems to pop up in funny places, such as the two most recent episodes of Heroes), and Donny Osmond does some amazing dancing. And of course, at approximately 1 min 40 sec, you can't miss the look on the woman's face when she opens her Christmas present and finds... a power strip.

I sent Victoria the link to the video, telling her that it reminded me of her (really, she reminded me of it, but whatever). Luckily I have the kind of relationship with my boss where I can make fun of her like that. A few minutes later, she came out of her office saying, "That's NOT funny!" But oh, it was.

No comments: