the geek i am or am not

Today is geek/nerd pride day.  I dropped my funny links in the previous post since this one is long enough already.  Be sure and check those out unless you don't like laughing.  Here I will focus on to what extent I am a geek/nerd.  And I'll plop in some of my geekiest photos to keep things interesting.

So what is a geek/nerd?  Most people would define the two words differently but those definitions start to contradict when you talk to different people.  So I'm going to glom them together for today to mean one who really gets into the nuts and bolts of stuffs.  Especially science, science fiction, and fantasy stuffs.

with Rob Thomas (no not him), creator of the cult hit Veronica Mars

My career puts me in the geek camp whether I want to be there or not.  Not only am I wrangling computer code all day, I have to learn how to do it in new ways all the time. I have family members in medicine and they are required to continue their education.  I'm not required to do so by anyone but I still have to in order to stay relevant.  Thus it is not the learning, it's the field.  I work in a geeky field, simple as that.  Career geek score: 80%  (have to be in pure science to score higher)

with James Marsters (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Geeks are known to be introverts and have poor social skills.  By introversion I mean the more clinical definition of "processes thoughts first, then speaks" as opposed to just "shy."  I am undoubtedly introverted (but not shy).  I struggle to keep my cadence smooth if I'm stringing more than a couple of sentences together.  Much to the dismay of my Toastmasters club (and myself when speaking at the club).

I'm not sure that my social skills were ever "poor" but when I was younger I would say "mediocre" was a good description.  I remember reading the classic computer science book and true story The Soul of a New Machine.  One of the guys in that book was insanely smart.  He, like I, had mediocre social skills.  But he decided to improve himself by "mastering the social graces."  He succeeded and became a charismatic, life-of-the-party kind of guy.  I was inspired by this and resolved to improve myself as well.  Since I am not insanely smart, I did not progress as far.  Plus I have not been sufficiently motivated to improve my small talk.  (It seems so banal!)  But I am very pleased with the progress I've made and think I do pretty well now.  It is a constant effort not to fall back to my old ways though.  This one is too hard to score.

at Comic Con with R2A6

We can't talk about geeks without discussing computer games.  I do play some games.  The one I go back to again and again is NCAA Football.  A few months ago I picked up Rock Band and I love that too.  It helps that Christine likes to play it with me.  Any other gaming is sporadic.  I am not one of those guys who is proficient at first-person shooters or has level 70 characters on WoW.  I know those guys, I work with them, I like them.  But I am not that deep in that world.  Score a 40% on the geek meter for video games.

How about pop culture?  I'm not a comic reader.  I couldn't tell you who is in the upcoming Avengers movie.  I've never seen The Justice League.  I was huge into BSG and Buffy.  I waited in line for hours for Return of the Jedi (but haven't done that for any movie since.)  My geek cred in this area is a little weak.  Maybe 35%

with Bai Ling who was famously cut from Star Wars Episode III (I'll tell you why if you ask nicely)

Let's flip to the plus side for a bit.  What do I read?  Sci-fi? Yes.  Fantasy?  Oh yes!  As a kid I read through all of the Xanth novels.  Obviously read the Hitchhiker's series dozens of times.  The Well of Souls, LOTR, Foundation, Ender's Game,... I could go on and on and that's just when I was young.  The non-comic-reading is a demerit.  Maybe 75% geek in this area.

Someone told me recently that I can't be a real geek, I'm a sports fan!  I don't agree with that.  Baseball is beloved by geeks.  There's so many games and thus so many (meaningful) stats.  Playing fantasy baseball before computer-run leagues was a giant endeavor.  Geeks did it in droves.  I'm not a big baseball guy.  I do geek out in my preferred sports though.  I read lots of geek-oriented football blogs such as Smart Football, Advanced NFL Stats, Football Outsiders, and of course Buckeye Football Analysis.

I have played in rock bands.  Not so geeky.  I have also played in fruity jazz bands.  (If you followed that link, Dopplegangland is the bomb.)  Pretty geeky.  I attend a philosophy club.  Geeky.  Ah, what does it all mean!?  In the end, what can I say about myself.  Maybe I am geek light?  Does that mean today I should have a small amount of pride?

Hmmmm.  Part of being a geek to me is going for it full bore and damn the social consequences.  We geeks don't need no "pride day."  We don't need public recognition for who we are!  Even a geek light like I recognizes that.  Have a good Tuesday, with your geek flag raised or not!