Well, the New Year approaches, and we’re in vacation/convention mode here at Stately Beat Manor. There will be multiple That Was The Year That Was columns in the near future, but today, we’re taking it easy, clearing out some of the lesser vintages in the wine cellar (to make space for comics, as the environment is close to perfect for conservation of paper).
Oh, and I’ve been told not to bury the lede like Montresor. There’s a new game I’ll introduce to you in a moment, but first, while we’re discussing the New Year, a brief sidebar (you can skip ahead to next headline, just scroll down).
If you’re geeky and bored (like I was a few years ago), you might wonder:
What if the New Year was an Annihilation Wave, slowly making its way across the globe in real time, like a Sunrise of Death? At what exact time would this New Year of Doom hit your geographical locale?
Well, if you’re west of the Prime Meridian, it’s quite easy.
First, go to Google Maps, and find your address or location. Zoom in real close. Position your cursor on the spot where you are, and right-click. You’ll see a menu pop up, and at the bottom is “What’s here?”. Click on that, and a pair of coordinates will appear in the search box at the top of the Google Maps page.
40.763653 , -73.982409
Ignore the first number, that’s the latitude, which tells you how far north or south you are, on a scale of 0 (Equator) to 90 (poles). The second number is what we want. That’s the longitude, telling us how far west we are of the Prime Meridian, on a scale of 0 to -180. (East of the PM, it’s a positive number.)
So, we know that the Earth takes approximately 24 hours to rotate. So if the planet has 360 degrees of longitude, then each hour the Earth moves fifteen degrees relative to the Sun. Or: one degree of longitude equals four minutes of time.
Using the example above, subtract fifteen degrees until the result is less than fifteen. Using our example:
73.982409 – 60 = 13.982409
Multiply that by 4 to get the minutes of time.
13.982409 * 4 = 55.929636
That means at 4 hours 55.929636 minutes UTC (60/15 = 4) Midnight arrives from a geographical perspective, just like they used to do in the days before railroads, when everyone lived on “local time”.
Yeah, it’s kinda geeky, but if 2012 ends like many people believe, then it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
If you do it the old fashioned way, then:
1 degree = 15 minues of time
15 coordinate minutes = 1 minute of time or 1 minute = 4 seconds of time
15 coordinate seconds = 1 second of time
OKAY… Time for the game!
I call this “Six Degrees of Geeks”.
The idea came to me in August of 2009. I had just come from a Midnight screening of “Spaceballs“, and John Hurt’s cameo at the end got me to thinking…
John Hurt was in “Alien” with Sigourney Weaver; Bill Pullman was in “Independence Day” with Jeff Goldblum; then there’s John Candy, Rick Moranis, Dick Van Patten…
Hey… could I take “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” and limit it to just geeky movies? On the subway ride home, I started a crazy web of connections, using movies I knew.
Then I powered up my smart phone and started looking up specific geeky movies on IMDB, looking for movies with lots of great actors.
So, after two months, I had created a linear list of 120 actors and actresses, which can viewed here, at my blog. (How do I connect Harrison Ford to Paul L. Smith? Read and find out!)
Now, the rules:
- The Internet Movie Database shall be the primary reference source for any disagreements. Other sites may be used. If Internet access is not available, a movie guide may be used. (I recommend VideoHound.)
- Only movies which have been released (either domestically or internationally) may be used. (For example, when I made the list in 2009, I could not have used “X-Men: First Class“. I didn’t include Kevin Bacon in my original list, but “Hollow Man” or “Apollo XIII” would have qualified.)
- Only geeky movies can be used. No animation, no television or other media. Live action voiceovers count, such as Ray Harryhausen in Elf. What is a geeky movie? Science Fiction, Fantasy, Based on a comic book or cartoon, contains the Supernatural or Paranormal. Slasher movies don’t qualify, unless there’s something fantastical about them (like Nightmare on Elm Street). Monster movies do. Would “The Human Centipede” qualify because it has a mad scientist? That’s up to the people playing the game. (A moot point, as there aren’t any known actors in the film.) If you have to use your imagination, it probably qualifies. Live-action/animated hybrids (such as some Disney features) qualify. The movies do not have to be well-known to qualify.
- The actors and actresses used must be well-known. Disputes can be settled if the characters portrayed can be recalled by a consensus of players.
- Sequels may not be used in sequence (so no linking Patrick Stewart to William Shatner to John Laroquette using just Star Trek movies).
- Many actors and actresses are a Geek Nexus, starring in a variety of geeky movies (such as Natalie Portman.) Many geeky movies have stellar casts (Time Bandits). If a non-linear game is being played, then the actress or movie link may be used more than once, but the specific linkage can only be used once. For example: Rick Moranis can be linked to Steve Martin via Little Shop of Horrors. Little Shop of Horrors can be used again later, to link John Candy and Bill Murray (who can then be linked back to Rick Moranis via Ghostbusters, who can then be linked to, say, Sigourney Weaver
- Points and Geek Cred can be earned by the following:
- The actor, actress, or movie is an Academy Award winner or nominee (but only in the acting and best picture categories; no special effects, costuming, or any other category).
- Double and triple links can be created, where either a linkage of actors share more than one movie (such as Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum in Earth Girls Are / EasyThe Fly / Transylvania 6-5000) or if two movies share multiple actors , such as How To Stuff A Wild Bikini and (Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini MachineAnnette Funicello / Frankie Avalon / Dwayne Hickman).
- Directors or other non-actors who appeared in front of the camera are linked. (Such as Chuck Jones!)
- Linking Actors and actresses who are not known for their geeky roles. (Such as Buster Keaton.)
- Creating a linear path where all movies in a series are used. (My list used all seven Batman movies (1966-2009) plus Catwoman. Danny DeVito >>> George Clooney)
- Variations on the above rules are allowed, as long as all participants agree.
Want to be REALLY GEEKY?
Want to be really geeky and alternative? Use a different “Center of the Hollywood Universe”! And that site has an IMDB-powered search function which does the work for you! Can you find someone with a Bacon Number of 8 or higher?
Want to be a spectator? Pop this in your DVD player!
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!