Posts Tagged Nerdom
I’ve been meaning to post this picture for a while. This is just a quick shot I took tonight. It’s how you can tell just by looking at my desk that I’m a total nerd. All of these items have been gifts from my staff over the last year and a half, and they make me pretty happy. I just need a TARDIS to round out the scene…hmmmm
I’m also going to try to put up a picture of me at work in my Halloween costume this year, because it was just so deliciously nerdy. I just have to slightly disguise some details. Anyone who actually knows me and reads this blog could figure out it’s mine, but I don’t want to make it too easy for strangers to be able to recognizes faces and places that’s why I don’t post many pictures that I take myself.
I’ve been thinking about this post off and on for a week now. Mostly prompted by my own Birthday and the introspection that inspires in me, but also driven by having finished the second season of the Penny Arcade Web series. The season finale talked a lot about Jerry and Mike (the creators of Penny Arcade) and their experiences in school being “nerds” and what their adult life is like. It’s something Wil Wheaton has talked extensively about on his blog. I figured it’s time that I give it a whirl.
I didn’t have a good time in traditional schools growing up. I’m a tall guy, and I was always on the taller side for my age, but I still got picked on a lot. I didn’t feel like I was bigger then anyone that’s for sure. Even as a kid (I mean like 8 years old here) I liked nerdier things, I thought Star Trek the Next Generation was the most awesome show that could ever be on TV. I got hooked on the X-Men animated series on Saturday mornings on Fox and that inevitably lead to collecting comics. I was one of the smarter kids in my classes, but I always had a hard time socializing and making friends. I was shy and awkward socially even before girls really entered the equation.
In Middle School I discovered Tolkien and from that D&D. At lunch, my friends and I hung out in our home room and played Chess or Magic the Gathering. I sucked at Gym Class especially at running (asthma) or anything requiring hand-eye coordination. In 8th grade I proudly came to school in a Starfleet Uniform with full Klingon make up and thought it was just the coolest costume ever. Not everyone agreed. I wasn’t getting beat up on a daily basis like some people who talk about getting bullied. Generally it was just mean jokes, pranks, and isolation. The things I thought were “cool” just weren’t that cool to my class mates.
My first two years of High School sucked pretty consistently. I had a pretty tight small group of friends. But it was a big school and people thought I was an easy target. Probably mostly due to my lack of confidence. I got in some fights, that mostly resulted in teachers breaking it up before a clear victor could be established either way, but they were also pretty unskillful on my part. I changed schools for my Junior & Senior years to a much smaller and smarter school. It wasn’t a true charter school, it was basically a great big experiment inspired by the Dot Com boom, and was very technology focused. We had a computer at every desk. By and large this place was heaven for me, and it was the first place that I had a large group of friends. A lot of the students there had escaped other school where they had been having similar experiences as myself. This was the Nerd school, where the people who would have qualified as the “cool kids” at my old school were in the vast minority. It was the first place where I really started to learn that being a nerd was not only alright, it was a good thing. I flourished there, and when I identify myself by which High School I went to, I identify as a student from there and mostly forget about the other place.
I wouldn’t say college was the same experience, but my nerdiness was a lot more acceptable there. People generally took me for who I was. Sometimes that turned into friendships, not always but it never really turned negative either. Being the smart kid is encouraged in college. The teachers aren’t “the enemy” at least not usually. No one is really resistant to that awesome process of learning shit. That isn’t to say we always enjoy the subject, but we’re also not teenagers in High School anymore at the peak of our instantaneous rebellion phase.
Well that covers school, but what about the real world? I won’t go so far as to say that nerds rule the world, I don’t think we do. But we do really well for ourselves out here. I’ve found ways to turn my nerdy nature to my advantage in business. For instance, I use to play around with Excel for fun, usually for D&D related purposes. I taught myself more things about Excel then most people learn in a semester long class about Microsoft Office or people who use it every day, but under utilize it because they don’t even think to push the boundaries of what the software can do. One of my nerdier aspects is that I’m very aware if not hyper aware of myself and where my position is in the terrain around me, especially socially. It’s made me very introspective. I use that trait regularly in customer service to examine people and situations I encounter. I can jump in and tackle a problem in the moment, but I’m also very good at stopping afterwards and looking back to see how the problem could have been avoided, or how I could have handled it better.
There’s a web & media campaign out there regarding bullying which has drawn increasing media attention lately. The It Gets Better Project it’s mostly about giving the victims of bullying hope for the future, that it gets better out in the real world. It’s a great message, and I approve, but having been one of those kids, I had parents and counselors and teachers say “it gets better” to me, and that didn’t do me a whole hell of a lot of good at the time. I gave me hope to keep struggling on, but it didn’t stop the bullying then, and it doesn’t now. I appreciate the movement and the effort, I just wonder if it isn’t attacking the problem from the wrong side. But then that’s probably another blog post.
So anyways, as an adult I’ve learned to fly my Nerd Flag high and proud. I’ve started going to conventions and I’m not embarrassed of my nerdy tattoos or nerdy hobbies. I’ve also come to realize that almost everyone has a little nerd in them about something, at least most passionate and successful people do. It’s not always about the things that most people would consider Nerdy, but the guy that can tell you all the stats of every member of his fantasy football league is nerding out about football. The GM of my property can talk for hours about architecture and construction methods, he’s a construction nerd. My beloved fiancée, doesn’t choose to embrace the nerd label, but she loves American history, she’s even played a drinking game based around naming the US Presidents. In the end, I love being a Nerd, even though it hasn’t always been an easy path to walk, I wouldn’t have it be any other way.
So I’ve been meaning to write this review for awhile, I kind of a did a little mini review of it when I first started reading, but I’ve been finished for awhile and it’s had time to digest for me. I imagine there will be spoilers, so you have been warned.
Overall score: 8/10 Pentacles
The book was another great Dresden adventure, but I don’t think it will go down in the records as my favorite in the series. But it was hardly a failure. I spent half the book yelling at the pages wishing I was some kind of speed reader because there were so many questions to answer and they were all dragging out so slowly. Harry spent a lot of time alone and isolated from his allies in this book, and that’s not terribly unique, he practically had no allies in Book 1: Storm Front, but at the same time it was frustrating because on top of that he was incorporeal and unable to interact with the world around him. He’s a ghost and in the Dresdenverse only insane ghosts can physically interact with the mortal world, sane ghosts can only interact with certain magically gifted individuals and other spirits or magical creatures. So it was a central challenge of the book for Harry to over come, not being able to just blow shit up, kick down doors, and burn down buildings.
Harry’s Chicago and the rest of the world has also been turned upside down as a direct result of his actions in Changes when he destroyed the Red Court, but also as a result of his absence for the 6 months after his death. Murphy is even more beat up and demoralized since we last saw her, she’s lost her badge and has been forced to ally herself with the king of crime John Marcone and occasionally the White Court of Vampires too. She hasn’t taken up one of the Swords of the Cross yet, but I think that’s coming down the tunnel for her. I also think Michael eldest son, Daniel is bound to end up with his father’s sword here in short order, which I think would be fitting and great to see unfold. I wanted to see more of Michael, which we actually saw zero of him in this book, but we did learn that Maggie (Harry’s daughter) is living with the Carpenters now which made me very happy. It was totally fitting and within character for both Michael, Charity, and Father Forthill that Maggie would be sent to live with them and their secret service detail of guardian Angels when Harry couldn’t take the girl himself. When Molly developed magical abilities, Harry not only took her as an apprentice, he put his life on the line to do so, the Carpenters are the perfect guardians for Maggie.
I didn’t get to see enough of Michael, Thomas or Mouse in this book and that was very frustrating. All of those characters had very legitimate reasons to be absent, and we at least got to see Mouse and Thomas by the end. BTW good on Justine for finally figuring out a loop hole in the whole White Vampire’s weakness to True Love thing. It’s just the sort of thing that could bring Thomas back out of the darkness and onto the side of Good again. I’m really surprise Bob’s nasty dirty mind didn’t think of that solution, a kinky threesome is right up the skull’s alley of thought. I deducted star because I missed these characters so much. Also, not that I missed him, but John Marcone was sure talked about a lot considering he never got any screen time. What the hell is that bastard up to?
Speaking of Bob! Oh. My. Science! It was awesome getting this one chance for Harry to be inside Bob’s skull and see the spirit’s “home” in a sense. We did get to learn lots of awesome little bits about Bob in this book and that was very cool. Also it was very interesting to see Bob and Butters partnered up, Bob being an insane resource into all things magical (and now that he can tap into the EM spectrum and get the internet pretty soon it’ll just be all things period), but Butters being a pure mortal was still able to utilize him, and in some cases in better ways then Harry ever did.
Also, I think it’s awesome that Mort Lindquist has turned out to be much more of a supernatural heavy hitter. I love the idea that while Harry has been out running around Chicago, that Morty could have been running around having his own insane adventures that Harry was never aware of.
In a lot of ways this book was about Harry’s supporting cast, Murphy, Butters, Molly, Billy & the Alphas, becoming the new champions of Chicago’s supernatural world. Which considering Harry really isn’t out of the woods yet, is a good thing. It’s also made some of them into Bad Ass Mo Fo’s. And being inside Molly’s mind and to find out she’s a classic Trekkie at heart….I just wish this was a TV show (done right this time) so we could see what ever sexy actress they cast as Molly running around in classic series mini-skirt uniforms. Sigh. I’m sure my imagination is letting me down somehow…
It was also very gratifying that Kincaid turned out to be the trigger man in the end, as we had all suspected all along, but to have Harry turn out to be the architect of his own murder was just brilliant! I don’t think anyone could have seen that coming. Or at least I didn’t. We all knew that Harry had a record of cheating his way out of deals with the Fey, but this was a masterful stroke. However, I think Mab cheated some how, the Winter Knight is supposed to serve until death. I know that since his body never actually died it doesn’t seem to have qualified, but hells bells she’s a bitch! Even for a faerie!
I actually deducted a star for the ending. Really another…maybe not cliff hanger…but open ended ending? Up until Changes, most of the Dresden books all wrapped up pretty well be the end. There were some story points that stretched from one book to another, but they didn’t make contemplating an entire year until the next book seem an unbearable proposition. Now Harry is off to the Winter Court with Queen Mab, and he’s still the Winter Knight. I know this is Harry’s life and it kind of makes sense, but that’s just gods damn unfair! For Harry and the readers damn it. It was just disappointing to get to another open ended ending of another Dresden book. I accepted it from Changes, although it was very frustrating at the time. It’s going to be a bit souring if this starts happening with every installment. Especially if Jim Butcher get’s in the habit of falling behind on his publishing schedules and making us wait more than a year. He managed to do a 12 month release on his other Dresden Books when he was still writing Codex Alera, I don’t think Ghost Story warranted the extra 4ish month wait time personally.
I haven’t listened to the Audiobook and it may skew my score further one way or another. Although there isn’t much room to go up. But I’ll probably do that next. After I finish the 3rd Game of Thrones audiobook. I also think I’m due for a Hotel Business type post relatively soon.
So I had almost forgotten that over a year ago I set up a Cafe Press Shop with some Nerd shirt designs I had thought up. OK so I had totally forgotten until I got an email this morning informing that my shop had sold something. For the first time. EVER. That was kinda cool. Cafe Press was super fun to use, a great way to express your creativity and sometimes earn a couple dollars, but I never really got around to setting up all the SEO and meta-data type stuff so that the shop would really work well. That was of course before I had this blog. I figure I should at least link the two together now. And maybe I’ll get around to it, because really, if I could get some shirts to sell, it might be a fun little chunk of change. I’m not schilling for my readers to go buy stuff to “support this blog”, I don’t think I’ve earned that quite yet. However, if you like nerdy shirts (mostly D&D related) then you might find something you like, in which case the shirts are there if you want one. I think I also set them up as buttons and bumper stickers and stuff, so there are a couple of options at different price points.
Anyways, here’s the link: Kaos Wizard’s Swag
I’ll probably make a separate “Page” for it on the main blog too, just so it’s easy to reference back to.
This is something I’ve been considering doing for awhile. Lists like these change over time, but I wanted to share a couple of lists of my favorite things.
Favorite Super Heroes
I’ve always been a Marvel fan for a lot of reasons. The biggest debate is often Marvel vs. DC and in the end DC characters never held that much appeal for me. DC characters tend to be very 1-dimensional. Their exact ranking shifts over time, but generally these have been the top.
1. Spider Man – Pretty much always #1. Spider Man and almost more importantly, Peter Parker has always been a very relatable character for me. He has classic elements of tragedy in his past, but he doesn’t let it consume him (like someone over at DC with a tragic past). Spidey is sarcastic and always has a quip. His powers are strong, but they don’t make him invincible or unbeatable, his mind usually accomplishes that. In the end I like heroes that are still mortal and flawed. Let’s also not forget that he pretty much always gets the hotness, Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy, & Black Cat to name the few.
2. Captain America – He’s the paragon of super hero virtue in the Marvel Universe. Whichever side of a fight Cap is on, you can bet it’s probably the side of truth, justice and the mother fraking American way damn it! He’s an icon of what the country and this world should be in many ways. He’s also barely super powered, strength, speed and reflexes are basically those of a world class or Olympic athlete, an athlete in pretty much every sport, but all the same, he’s pretty much got more human then super in his super human equation. Yet he still manages to be one of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe.
3. Wolverine – I first started reading comics because of the old X-Men cartoon series and the action figures that came out around them. My first major story arch was the Bloodlines story, which spanned across multiple series, and each issue of the main arch has a hologram card on the front. I already knew the basics of Wolverine from my friends and the cartoon series, but one of the first issues I read had Wolverine getting the adamantine ripped from his body by Magneto in an epic battle in space. And the guy lived! Wolverine is one of the few heroes who is nearly immortal that I still love. He’s dark and full of rage, yet he still has a heart and passion. And I always rooted for him and Jean Grey. She just didn’t belong with Cyclops.
4. Iron Man – I’m a tech Nerd, that’s pretty much the end of story here. He’s rich. And under the armor he’s just a guy with a busted heart. If there’s a problem or a bad guy that can’t be beat, give Tony Stark enough time and he can build a suit to beat it and dice your vegetables. He has the brains that he could build hundreds of suits and other heroes to help him out, but he’s seen what happens when his technology gets abused and has gone to war to protect his intellectual property.
5. Human Torch – He flies and is covered in fire. I’ve always wanted to fly as a super power. Harnessing fire all over my body and being able to duke it out with some of the nastiest bad guys out there is just cool. And he doesn’t have to keep a secret identity, he gets to live in the public and be a celebrity. And he’s friends with Spidey!
6. Jean Grey/Phoenix/Dark Phoenix – She’s sexy, bad ass telepath and telekenetic, and one of the most powerful mutants in the galaxy (she blew up an entire solar system!). Not only can she fly, but she can do it in space! She’s an original X-Man to boot.
7. Hawkeye – Hawkeye was always a favorite for me because he wasn’t super human at all, he’s just a master at what he does, and what he does is shoot tricked out arrows with a bow and he never misses! He used to be a criminal, but that doesn’t stop him from being an Avenger, and despite being a normal human facing down some of the worst enemies in the galaxy.
8. Emma Frost/White Queen – Another former villain turned good, so good that Professor X intrusted her with the X-Men and his precious school! Another very hot telepath, but she can also turn her body to diamonds and kick some ass when she needs to. And I always liked her being with Cyclops, she took a little of the shine off of the good soldier boy. That and who wouldn’t enjoy seeing some convention girls cosplay as her?
Anyways, I could have gone on for quite awhile on this topic. In middle school when we were studying statistics and I had to do conduct surveys and compile the results into statistical sets, I did my surveys and report on the best Marvel Heroes! And had a lot of fun doing it too. Granted that list has changed over the years. And I probably have a separate list for hottest female super heroes, though you can bet Jean and Emma are on it. I think I’ll do follow up posts to this, but a lot of other things are harder to rank and really depend on my mood at the time. Maybe favorite books or literary heroes at some point. Favorite starships and or Star Trek crew members, my starship dream team as it were. And probably, yeah at some point I’ll have to post a list of my favorite/hottest female celebs…if for no other reason so that I can do a Google image search for each one and really debate over who will make the cut. It’s a good thing this post is so nerd filled that the fiance probably won’t do more then skim it!
Not so that I can do it, but to see it with my own eyes. I love this level of dedication from the fans out there and witnessing it….even if it does exceed my own fandom.
The other day I horrified my fiance with a Nerdom overload at lunch as I elaborated on what should be our Zombie Apocalypse plan. I think it’s only responsible for us to have one, just like an earthquake plan or what to do in the event of pod-people. First of all, I want to know that if I get infected and become a Zombie that she’ll love me enough to shoot me twice in the head. I would do the same for her if it came to that. Because I love her that much! Being a Zombie is just no way to…unlive.
There are other rules to consider. If the Zombie Apocalypse comes, we don’t go looking for friends and family in the midst of a hot zone. At least wait until the initial out break dies down and until you’re well armed. If they can’t last that long, it won’t do them any good if you get infected trying to save them. First order of business, get supplies and fort up at a suitable rendezvous location. Home Depot and/or Costco are good choices. Even better if you can find them in the same shopping complex.
Weapons are essential. Most people think a gun, and I won’t deny that a good boom stick is going to be helpful, but ammo is going to get scarce fast in the post Zombie outbreak world. Same pretty much goes for chainsaws, you’re gonna run out of gas eventually. You need to be prepared for when you run out, even better conserve the consumable resources and use what don’t run out. A good sword or axe is important, but remember to get a face guard of some kind, splatter is dangerous when fighting Zombies. And remember, you light a Zombie on fire, it isn’t going to die right away, it’ll be still be mobile until the flames destroy the muscles, so while it might seem tempting, the blow torch is not a good device in the midst of an attack. That’s a much better defensive weapon. Vehicles are good, but you run into the consumable resources issue again, and they need to be rugged, most civilian vehicles aren’t designed for running down human bodies repeatedly, and remember that often stealth is your friend.
Anyways….there’s an entire book dedicated to this “The Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks if this is an area that concerns you as much as me, I highly recommend it. Don’t bother with the stupid CDC Report, that thing will just get you killed. I’m pretty sure they just want all of our lesser people to die so that it’s easier to save themselves. Also, I love AMC’s “The Walking Dead” TV series. Even if you’re not a big “zombie fiction” fan, I highly recommend it as a gripping drama….that just happens to have Zombies.
Sitting at my weekly (OK every other week) Dungeons & Dragons table tonight. An evening that I look forward to starting at the end of each previous game night. People have a weird opinion of D&D mostly due to misinformation spread by narrow-minded fear mongers. People really can’t understand it well without actually playing or watching a table at play, but then every table is a little bit different because of the nature of the game. I’ve played at a number of different tables since my early teens, and this is by far the best, generally.
Stop for game play…
OK, so I wrote the first paragraph of this post when the night was starting and I hadn’t dove fully in. It turned in to one of my most frustrating and disappointing nights of D&D ever. This table that I play at has been together in one form or another for 15 years or so. Long before I joined about 6 years ago. I brought a few players from my old high-school games with me eventually until we came a pretty good blend of what at one point had been two separate groups. I love this game, for a lot of reasons, and for the most part I consider the guys at this table good friends. It’s one of the few structured social gatherings I regularly participate in. Other guys do fantasy foot ball or poker night or go out for drinks weekly. It’s a relatively inexpensive past time and one that lets me get together with my friends and have fun. Only about half the night is actually about game play. The rest of it is just about a group of guys talking about bullshit, laughing and being rude and crude. The game which we all enjoy for its various aspects, improvisation, story telling, strategy, problem solving, and the fantastic sense of adventure, is just the thing that we all enjoy enough that it brings us together once a week or so.
I’m not a huge fan of everyone at the table however. Since this was an existing group when I came into it, I had existing personalities to deal with when I did. One of them who I consistently don’t particularly enjoy is our DM right now. If you don’t know D&D I’ll simplify things and say the DM is the person that if this was TV show is the writer and director to a large extent and the other players are essentially the main cast. That’s not a perfect example, but it usually gives non players an idea. Anyways the table has been butting heads with him since he started his run as DM, mostly in situations where players are trying to do something unique or unusual (what should be a common occurrence in a good game) and he didn’t want to allow fun and creativity to trump him. Sometimes this was even a situation where the rules were quite specifically against him.
Here’s what most people even most D&D players don’t realize about being the DM, your number one job is to make sure the other players at the table are having fun. There is no ”winning the game” in the monopoly sense of the world. You’re the primary storyteller of the game, you devise what adventure your players will be facing and it seems like an adversarial system, but it’s not, it’s also not entirely cooperative. You end up doing more work than everyone else and it’s usually a relatively thankless job. But the number one rule for the DM, is that if your players aren’t having fun, you’ve failed. You don’t win by killing all the players, that’s fairly easy to do because for this little game world you’re God, but then no one has fun. Similarly, it gets boring if everything is to easy and players never feel any sense of jeopardy or risk. Your players are representing legendary heroes of tremendous power and skill, but sometimes tragedy will befall them, some of them might die in the struggle but that makes the triumphs of the rest party all that more epic! I was always the DM for my friends in high school, but I’ve learned so much more about this demanding task since joining this group. I joined the table mainly so their original main DM got to be a player for a while and he and I have rotated in and out of the job since I joined, because it’s fun to be the DM, but it’s fun and so much easier to be a player.
To sum up what happened, I’m playing the party “rogue” I’m a thief essentially, and I’m a greedy one. After a battle against some invading monsters there were some dead and injured city guards. Our cleric, the party healer, was providing first aid to the injured and under the pretense of also providing first aid I tried to pick some pockets. The city Lord spotted me and instantly had me thrown in chains and taken to the town jail. For most games with most DMs this would just add a small wrinkle, either I break out on my own, not too difficult given my skill level and the wealth of this small town, or my companions break be out. Worst case scenario I plead guilty and I get branded or something. Instead of playing through those options, the DM just says that either I make a new character (as if I had died) or the entire party makes new characters! The entire night came to a screeching haul as we all collectively said WTF? And an hour-long argument ensued, until I finally left the table in disgust. It was very frustrating and disappointing. Ultimately after I left, the table decided to fire our current DM, because people were ready to quit the table over these arguments. So our main DM will take back over with what he’s been working on in his down time, and I might take a turn “behind the books” at some point.
Maybe I’ll put some of my thoughts about the game I have in mind on this blog….more to come!
For anyone who cares about the distinction, this will probably be a very nerdy rant type post this time.
I want to talk today about the thin line Nerds often walk between love and hate for the things they nerd-out about, and the possibilities for them to wildly shift with very little provocation. Nerdom (my word for when nerds obsessively love something) has at least contributed to the success of franchises like The X-Men, Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Buffy, The Matrix movies (yeah we messed up on that one, the first movie had such promise!), and let’s face it, it pretty much gives George Lucas a license to print money. It also displays itself in the fanatical way we’ll try to save something, like Firefly (we came so close…), Jericho, Roswell, and Farscape, or any number of comic books (just for example). This brings us to the dark side (pun slightly intended), Nerd Rage and let me say, you wouldn’t like us when we’re angry! It leads to the great divide between fans of Star Trek and Star Wars arguing as to which one’s better (quite heatedly). It leads to page long rants on a forum about Lost and the finale that could never have satisfied us. The boiling fury I feel when I see Hayden Christensen digitally implanted at the end of Return of the Jedi, because as I’m concerned THERE WERE NO PREQUELS! Because who wants to live in a Post-Phantom Menace world? I certainly don’t.
The two can rapidly shift though. Like the valiant, but hopelessly futile efforts to revive Star Trek: Enterprise after 4 years of nerds complaining and whining about the series, only to almost collectively turn a 180 when with a gasp of horror as we realize “What have we done?!? They can’t take Star Trek off the air! KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!” Or the gradual festering hatred that some developed for Heroes as it strove to bore us all into an early grave after blowing our minds the first season. I experienced that flip personally with the Stargate franchise, a franchise that for years I categorically ruled as “sucks” until I watched the original film again for the first time in years and thought to myself, I should try out that Stargate SG-1 and other shows. Now it’s over a year later, I’ve watched all three TV series from beginning to end (I’ll miss you most SG:U) and have started back in on Stargate Atlantis as my show that I just randomly watch when there’s nothing else on. Also the nearly debilitating apprehension I felt when contemplating the new Star Trek film, and it’s reboot of the franchise, something that boiled into Nerd Rage while watching it the first time and gradually reduced itself down to excited Nerdom over the exciting potential of the new timeline (time travel makes my head hurt). It’s been enough to make me reconsider some of my previously drawn conclusions about TV shows and movies.
It is from years of observing this pattern amongst my people, and from experiencing the highs and lows of Nerdom and Nerd Rage myself that I’ve drawn the conclusion that these two forces are the cornerstones of being a Nerd. Sure there are other defining characteristics to the lifestyle, but none of them so universally found in every nerd as these two traits. Whatever it is that you nerd-out about, Nerdom and Nerd Rage are likely somehow essential to your enjoyment of them, because they fuel or are the ultimate expression of the passion you feel for the subject matter. The best thing is when nerds can find a way to channel one or both of these passionate forces into creative endeavors, or even better, use them to be more successful and creative in their daily lives. I first learned to use Excel in school and it was kinda “blah” for me, that is until I realized all the neat things I could use it for in my nerdly interests, especially Dungeons and Dragons. I tweaked and played with Excel endlessly to make the statistics and numbers of the game reveal themselves to me in new and interesting ways. Now I use Excel continuously in my professional life to be more efficient and effective at my job and organizing my own personal finances. Sure, what I self taught myself using it recreationally, I could have learned in a class or learned when I needed it on the job, but I didn’t have to. Not only that but because I “played” with a system that most people think is a boring spreadsheeting program I look at it through a creative lens and think of new and interesting things to do with it, that a lot of people around me with a much different perspective don’t even consider. In my own brain I often relate the day to day operations of a Hotel to life on the Starship Enterprise, an analogy that many find silly. It works for me though, and as a result I find myself looking to my favorite Captains for inspiration on leadership and crisis management. Other people do similar things, and some people have found an even better world, one where they are able to use the actual nerdy things they love to make a living at. Like the guy who is a life long Dungeon Master for his friends that get’s a job a Wizard’s of the Coast to actual work on D&D source material. How cool would that be? Because when you do what you love, it feels a lot less like work.