“You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

From: The Matrix

Genre: Movies

Who said it?: Morpheus

The story behind the quote: Released in 1999, The Matrix was a groundbreaking film that was unlike any other. First, the trailer did not reveal a single thing about the plot. It only asked “What is the Matrix?” Because of this, people were hooked! They just had to see it!  Before I go into the plot, people that haven’t watched it yet should go watch it first… this will get kinda spoiler-y. Don’t worry. I’ll wait.

Watched it already? Good!

So the plot of the movie is that machines have actually taken over the world and the world that human think they’re living in is just a computer simulation called The Matrix. All of humanity are plugged into machines where our bio-chemistry gives energy to the machines. Essentially, we’re all just giant living batteries. Only a small segment of humanity know about this and are trying to fight the machines.

The hero, Neo (played by Keanu Reeves) gets an audience with Morpheus (portrayed by Lawrence Fishburne). Morpheus gives Neo a chance to take a blue pill (which will just knock him out but he will never learn that we’re just giant batteries) or a red pill (which will make him wake up from The Matrix).

Geek wisdom: Throughout life, we are given the choice of taking the blue pill or ignorance or the red pill of knowledge. While there is a saying that ignorance is bliss, having knowledge is always going to be better. Now, the thing is, every thing that we learn is actually through our own choice.

All of us have a great capacity to learn new things on a daily basis. However, a lot of us don’t even try. Even reading a geeky site about wisdom you can find in pop culture (ahem!) adds to one’s knowledge about life. What we become educated on is wholly dependent on our own choice to educate ourselves with what is available in the world.

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“You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance!”

From: Street Fighter II

Genre: Video Games

Who said it?: Ryu

The story behind the quote: This is actually the victory quote from Ryu, one of the characters from Street Fighter II. However, it created a lot of questions and confusion, which sadly could have been avoided if Capcom was more serious with their documentation.

The quote will appear when Ryu beats his opponent. However, people who were playing the game started wondering who the heck Sheng Long is and why we won’t be able to beat Ryu unless we go through this Sheng Long guy? A lot of people (myself included) that Sheng Long was Ryu and Ken’s master. We all thought that he was some tough Karate master who trained Ryu in his fighting style and must be one tough sonoabitch.

It was a great mystery and EGM, a popular video game magazine at the time, fueled the rumor that Sheng Long was actually in the game by publishing a method to actually fight him!

The method EGM published turned out to be an April’s Fools joke.

The real story behind the quote actually comes from sloppy translation of the victory quotes. The original Japanese quote reads “You must overcome the Rising Dragon,” which is Ryu’s jumping uppercut move, AKA the Dragon Punch. The Japanese text was translated into Chinese, where “Rising Dragon” can be translated into… yep, “Sheng Long.” When it came time to translate the quote to English, the localization staff misunderstood that it was a special attack and not a person, so he (or she) transliterated the text to read the quote we all know and love.

Still, we can sort of thank this mistranslated text. Because of this error, Capcom actually created Akuma (Gouki in Japan… don’t ask why they keep on screwing up the names), who had the moves of “Sheng Long” as described from EGM’s April’s Fools joke, and Gouken, the “official” master of Ryu and Ken who look strangely like the character art from EGM’s joke.

(Whew! That was another long one!)

Geek wisdom: We have to know our limits. A lot of people try to overcome great obstacles and that’s still admirable. However, we sometimes have to realize there has to come a time to step back and actually assess if we have the ability to perform the task. I mean, an ordinary guy just can’t come up to Kobe Bryant right now and challenge him to a one-on-one basketball game and hope to dominate! There’s a certain skill level involved to even stand a slight chance of beating him!

Now, I’m not saying it can be done. It can… but there’s a lot of practice and training involved. But, until you become skilled enough, just stay back and admire the man’s skill on the court.

“The morning sun has vanquished the horrible night”

From: Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest

Genre: Video Games

Who said it?: Narrator?

The story behind the quote: Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest is pretty much known as the black sheep of the series. While the first game focused on platform jumping and a brutal difficulty level, Simon’s Quest took a totally different direction. It was now an RPG, where you need to talk to people and collect items. Because it was such a departure from the original, it wasn’t embraced by fans. It does have some unique tricks, such as using items to overcome obstacles and the day and night transitions (where the enemies become tougher at night).

Anyway, the quote will pop up during the transition to morning from night. A box will appear to the left of the screen, signalling the end of the night, which can be a relief to players when they are just starting out with a low level.

Geek wisdom: Time does heal all wounds. We can be deeply hurt by the actions of other people, especially those close to us. At the start, we can feel that we will never be able to forgive them. Heck, we can even not talk to them for years and years.

However, as time goes by, the intensity of the pain that was inflicted magically starts to fade. We then remember the good times we had with that person and the hurtful action that was done becomes a distant memory. Once this happens, forgiveness become easy.

“Now we are so happy, we do the dance of joy!”

From: Perfect Strangers

Genre: Television

Who said it?: Balki Bartokomous

The story behind the quote: Perfect Strangers was a highly successful sitcom in the 80s. The general premise is that Balki, a foreigner from the fictional island of Mypos, goes to live with his cousin, Larry Appleton in Chicago. A lot of the humor invovles Larry’s misguided attempts to teach Balki the ways of America or his trying to take advantage of Balki’s naive personality. These will backfire and actually cause trouble for the duo. While they hardly know each other, they do eventually rely on each other as good friends and family members.

One of the signature “gimmicks” (if you can call it that) is Balki and Larry performing “the dance of joy,” usually done as a quick celebration of something successful. Before they do it, Balki will turn to his cousin and yell out the quote before they perform the dance… which you can see below.

Geek wisdom: We sometimes forget to celebrate the smaller, happy occasions and tiny achievements in our lives. Even getting in touch with a cousin who you haven’t seen in a while, making up with a person you have been fighting with for a long time or finally buying something that you’ve been saving your money on should be joyous occasions that should be shared with others.

The dance of joy that Balki and Larry do is a great example of sharing your happiness with others for a job well done. We all should actually find ways to celebrate the good things in life when they come our way. Yes, maybe dancing around with your cousin may be silly but it sure can be fun doing it.

“When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.”

From: Futurama

Genre: Cartoons, Television

Who said it?: God?

The story behind the quote: Futurama comes from the mind of Matt Groening, the same guy who created the Simpsons. The style of humor is pretty much like the Simpsons, only given a sci-fi twist. It follows the adventures of Fry, a young man who was accidentally placed in suspended animation and revived in the 30th century. There, he finds a job as a courier for the Planet Express courier service. He works with Leela, a one-eyed cyclops who also becomes his love interest, and Bender, a robot that is an “alcoholic, whore-mongering, chain-smoking gambler” (according to Leela).

Anyway, the quote comes from the 20th episode of the 3rd season. While floating aimlessly in space, Bender becomes a god to a small race of beings that lived on his body but the race died because of a nuclear war (long story). The robot actually meets a being that appears to be God. God then tells Bender that he doesn’t interfere with the human race directly but prefers to use a “light touch” to guide them.

Fry and Leela search desperately for Bender and, using a powerful telescope used by space monks (again, long story), find Bender out in space. Bender is then hurtled towards his friends and Fry and Leela are relieved and amazed to find their friend. When leaving the monastery, they realized that they still have the monks tied up. Bender says that God cannot be counted on to help them. The camera then zooms out back to God, where he gives the quote.

(Wow! That was a long summary!)

Geek wisdom: Let’s not get into a theological discussion regarding the quote. Rather, let’s focus on the wisdom behind it. If you think about it, God (well, the voice in the episode anyway) is right. When everything is going right, we don’t give two thoughts regarding how things work. We’re just happy it does.

People have to remember and thank the people in our day to day lives that makes things run smoothly. It can be a thankless job for the guy (or gal) that makes sure that the plumbing in your house is working properly or the janitor that cleans your work area. Acknowledge that they are an important part of our lives.

“Get up, you sonoabitch! ‘Cuz Mickey loves you!”

From: Rocky Balboa

Genre: Movies

Who said it?: Michael “Mickey” Goldmill

The story behind the quote: Ahh, the Rocky films. The quintessential story of an underdog trying to make himself better. Each of the six movies in the series tells the story of Robert “Rocky” Balboa (played by Sylvester Stallone), a down on his luck boxer who eventually becomes the World Heavyweight Champion of the world. This is thanks to no small part of his trainer and mentor, Micheal Goldmill… Mickey for short (portrayed by Burgess Meredith).

The quote comes from a flashback scene in the last film in the series, appropriately titled Rocky Balboa. Rocky, who now owns a respectable restaurant in Philadelphia, visits his old gym. Here, he remembers one of Mickey speeches. The speech is about how Mickey trained him and that he loved him like his own flesh and blood. He also tells Rocky that he’s proud with all of his accomplishments. Finally, Rocky remembers that whenever he feels that he’s in trouble and needs help, Mickey always believed in him, so he should never give up on himself.

Geek wisdom: Sometimes, we feel like giving up. It could be a dream or just life in general. However, we have to remember that there are always going to be people to help you when you’re down… there are people that believe in you. We can forget that, especially when we feel that we are in the lowest point of our lives.

So, when you feel that you can’t go on anymore, remember… there are always people there to help you out when you’re in trouble.

“Rule # 4: Double Tap”

From: Zomebieland

Genre: Movies

Who said it?: Columbus

The story behind the quote: Zombieland is a 2009 film about, well, zombies. However, unlike previous films of the genre, it is not a horror movie. It’s more of an action-comedy movie about a group of people trying to survive after the zombie apocalypse. Another thing that makes it different from other zombie films out there is that the survivors are actually pretty good at going about living in the world. One of the reasons why they are so successful is because of the rules Columbus (played by Jesse Eisenberg) created. He created a whole list of them and they all proved pretty effective in ensuring that he lives.

The quote comes from the 4th rule, which is “Double Tap.” In most zombie movies, the survivors shoot at zombies and, when it falls down, they do the stupid action of getting close to check on the supposedly dead body. Columbus suggests that people shouldn’t be stingy with their bullets at a time when survival is the main goal. Shooting the zombie once more make sure that they’re downed.

Geek wisdom: Like in real life, people should always make sure about stuff. There’s  no harm in checking and re-checking if what you did is correct. For students, it could be the answers for a test. For people at their jobs, it could be the work you’re gonna submit to your boss.

“Double tapping” just takes a few minutes of your time and it’ll give you peace of mind that you did your job right.

“Bah Weep Granah Weep Ninni Bong!”

From: Transformers: The Movie

Genre: Movies, Cartoons

Who said it?: Kup

The story behind the quote: This quote comes from the Transformers: The Movie. Not the live action Michael Bay films. This is from the animated movie that was released in 1986. The film was actually pretty controversial for its time because of the deaths of practically the entire cast of the TV Series… during the first 20 minutes, no less!

The movie is set in the year 2005 (which was pretty far off in the future then) and, somehow, the treacherous Decepticons have managed to conquer the Autobots home world of Cybertron. The Autobots, however, refuses to give up the fight and have set up bases on the planet’s moons. Unknown to them, both factions face a bigger threat than themselves: the planet eater called Unicron.

Anyway, the quote comes during two parts in the film. The first part is when Kup and Hot Rod, two Autobots who had to retreat from a recent battle encountering a group of shark-like robots. The elder Kup tries to make friends with them by giving the “Universal Greeting,” which is the quote. However, this is met with disastrous results…

The second time the quote is used is when Hot Rod and Kup rendezvous with their fellow Autobots who were under attack by a group of robots called the Junkions. Here, Hot Rod tries his hand at using the Universal Greeting…

Geek wisdom: The Universal Greeting is actually kinda smart as it proves that its not really the words that people look at when you first meet them; its actually the actions of people that are more important. People tend to focus on the words people use and that’s okay.

However, words are just that: words. We tend to forget that actions always speak louder than words. It’s easy to make promises and say what we’re gonna to do something but they’ll have no meaning unless we can back it up by actually doing them.

“Spartans, what is your profession?”

From: 300

Genre: Movies

Who said it?: King Leonidas

The story behind the quote: 300 is a stylized retelling of Battle of Thermopylae. Based on the comic book of Frank Miller called, well, 300, the story revolves around how 300 Spartans from, well, Sparta, took a stand against an huge invading army from Persia. While the odds were definitely against them, since the Spartans were trained to fight since birth, they were very successful in killing off a huge swath of Persian soldiers. While they did lose in the end, their story (or the story that was told to the rest of Greece anyway) inspired the country to stand up against the invaders.

The quote comes from a scene where the 300 Spartans come across a huge number of Arcadians who are willing to fight off the Persians. The Arcadians are initially dismayed as there are only 300 Spartans; that number is just too small when compared to the invader’s army. King Leonidas, played by Gerard Butler, asks several of the Arcadians what their jobs were. They replied that they were simple workers, such as potters and sculptures. King Leonidas then turns to his fellow Spartans and asks them what is their profession. The Spartans all howl in several fearsome bellows in reply. The King of Sparta then states that he actually has more soldiers than the Arcadians assembled there.

Geek wisdom: We have to select the right tool for the right job. Like the Arcadians in the scene, a substitute can do in a pinch. However, if you want the job to be done and done right, the right equipment will beat out the substitute anytime.

The Spartans were bred to be warriors and that’s what they’re good at. They were the right tool to use for fighting and holding off an invading army of thousands, even if they were only 300. Accepting substitutes is okay, but nothing beats the real thing.

“You don’t hate a person because someone told you to. You have to learn to despise them on a personal level.”

From: Red vs. Blue

Genre: Web Series

Who said it?: Pvt. Leonard Church

The story behind the quote: Here’s another quote from “the popular web series” Red Vs. Blue. Not only is the show pretty funny, but there are also a lot of inspirational quotes there if you come to think of it.

The quote comes from Episode 100, which pretty much closed out The Blood Gulch Chronicles. In the closing scene of the episode, a couple of the Blues, namely Church and Caboose are talking. Caboose asks Church why are they there in the first place, mirroring the Reds conversation in the very first episode. Church then gives an impassionate speech about how he didn’t care before who he was ordered to fight. But, after recent events, he realized that you don’t hate someone because you were told to hate him or her; you have to hate them because you hate them.

Geek wisdom: There are a lot of people in the world that will tell you that a group of people are bad. The thing is, you shouldn’t lump anyone together. Whether it be race, religion or age, everyone is different. Everyone has different values.  Hating a certain type of people without any basis is just wrong.

Now, if you do hate someone, then that’s fine, too. As Church said, you have to hate someone for the right reasons. You can hate someone if they wronged you, they act like idiots or they just rub you the wrong way. That’s okay. At least you have a reason.