The Doubleclicks’ New Video Reminds Us We Have Nothing to Prove

This!

Yes, this!

Watch the video and read the boards. Watch it again to listen to the amazing Doubleclicks. If you listen to it a third time, well… I can’t guarantee that you won’t be humming it for the rest of the day. (My seven-year-old daughter already is.) But you may want to risk the tune getting stuck to spot celebrities like Adam Savage, Paul and Storm, Wil Wheaton, and many more who joined so many other geeks to make this video.

We have nothing to prove. Just because we are girls, moms, women, does not mean we shouldn’t be interested in the things we obsess over.

Thank you, Doubleclicks. You truly are advocates for geeks everywhere.

OED Recognizes “Geekery” (and 93 Other Words) in June Quarterly Update

Oxford English Dictionary Online Edition has a new entry for "geekery." (Screen grab K. Moore)

Lexical geeks everywhere perked up their auricles when a hoary old venerated tome like the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) announced that its June quarterly update included a word in our domain: geekery.

This is in addition to the existing list of  eleven other words listed in the current online edition with “geek” roots. Sadly for me, my printed copy does not inherit any of the updates in the 30 or so years since it was published.

The OED Online entry for geekery (for British English primarily; American English is described in the Oxford American English Dictionary) is listed as slang whose first definition refers to

…bizarre or grotesque acts performed by a carnival or circus geek (geek n. 2), regarded collectively.

The  second definition is

2. Actions or behaviour typical of a geek or geeks (geek n. 1b, geek n. 1c); spec. obsessive devotion to or knowledge of a particular (specified) subject or pursuit, esp. one regarded as unfashionable or highly technical. Also: the state of being a geek; geekiness.

There are historically derived quotations illustrating usage of the terms at different points in history, which helps to clarify differences between definitions and how each definition evolves over time. This is vastly true of definitions 1 and 2 for “geekery”– the carnival freak vs. the extreme enthusiast.

The  94 words in the June quarterly update focus on words with hand, head, or heart as their bases, plus other high-impact words like fracking, kombucha, red velvet, and tweet.

In addition to “our” word, this quarterly update includes the 93 other new words (main entries), plus new sub-entries and new senses for words already present in the OED. You can find out more about the June update at http://public.oed.com/whats-new/ and a more in-depth discussion of the update’s themes and quirks in an essay by OED Chief Editor John Simpson at http://public.oed.com/the-oed-today/recent-updates-to-the-oed/june-2013-update/a-heads-up-for-the-june-2013-oed-release/ . Dip into the OED and join me in my word geekery (definition 2, not 1!).

 

A Quick and Dirty Visit to the Phoenix Comicon

Steampunk dude. Photo: Jenny Williams

Steampunk dude. Photo: Jenny Williams

My family and I went to the Phoenix Comicon last Friday. It was an interesting visit because we went without a plan, and it was Rory‘s first time at this kind of con. The kids and I had been to this one twice before. But we purposely went for only a short visit this time, and didn’t even crack open the program.

Bad form, I know. But we only really had an afternoon, and I find I get my hopes up to see too many things if I over plan. So I let Rory run the show. Taking kids to panels is sometimes unpredictable, and usually boring for the kids, so our entire experience was the dealer room and people watching. Because it was Friday, the crowds were quite manageable, and we were able to get to all the tables we wanted to see.

[Read more…]

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Date Alyssa Bereznak

If you’re in this room, you won’t be getting a second date with Alyssa Bereznak. Photo CC BY-NC-SA by Isma Monfort

Alyssa, girl to girl, let’s talk.

You went on what is essentially an Internet-facilitated, near-blind date. You say everybody’s doing it, and you admit you’ve heard of some pretty crazy horror stories. So have I. But you know what? Yours doesn’t measure up. Not even a little.

Let me summarize what happened. You went on a date with somebody who wasn’t a good match for you. You probably said something like, “Hi, my name’s Alyssa. I blog for Gizmodo.” He heard, I am a tech blogger, which means I am also a geek and not going to run away when you admit you are a geek too. Then he told you he’s the world-champion Magic: The Gathering player, which frankly, is pretty geek-impressive. Your response was to tell the entire Internet how horrible he is…for being a geek. (Note: This link originally went to the Gizmodo post. It now goes to an screenshot on imgur of the post. It is still, however, not Bereznak’s original post, which has been edited.)

Do you see how ridiculous that is? I’m guessing you don’t. The italicized disclaimer that was added to the top of the post much later doesn’t excuse it either. “Judging people on shallow stuff is human nature,” it says. We can debate whether that’s true or not, but even if we go your way and say that it is, should you be proud of it? That disclaimer says, “Yup, I’m shallow. Not only is that OK, but it’s my right to be shallow, and I’m proud of it!”

Since you’re a single woman, for some guy, somewhere in your past, you probably had a deal breaker. Did you put that in your OK Cupid profile, as you insist Jon should have done with his championship title? Let’s review what you considered the series of deal breakers in this date. Feel free to compare with anything a guy has disliked about you.

Strike one: He “still” plays Magic. Ohs noes! The horror! I haven’t played Magic since high school, but it just wasn’t my favorite game. I do, however, have quite a collection of Steve Jackson and Looney Labs games, not to mention a library of RPG books. Too bad they’ll keep me from finding a date. No, wait. There are other nice, geeky, non-judgemental people in the world, and I married one. Now we play those games with our kids.

Strike two: He said, “I’m preparing for a tournament this weekend.” You probably won’t be cheering him on, will you? I’m glad he’ll be able to concentrate without your bitter face hanging over him.

Strike three: “I’ve met all my best friends through Magic.” You obviously don’t know this, but gaming is a great way to meet friends. When you’re playing games, you actually get to talk to one another. When was the last time you had a deep conversation during a Brad Pitt movie? Maybe you should try dating more gamers. I would way rather have a conversation with one of them than the “ordinary finance guy” you thought you were getting.

Alyssa, I take consolation in two things from this tale. One, Jon Finkel was saved from you. Two, when guys take your advice and Google your name before a date, they’ll turn up this post and see why they should cancel.

Jon Finkel, I don’t really know anything about you, except that you’re single and spend a lot of time playing Magic. And that’s cool. You keep right on doing it. That goes the same for all the other non-champion Jon Finkel geeks in the world. For every one of you, there’s a non-Alyssa out there who will be the mana for your spells.

Book Review: Nerd Do Well

NerdDoWell-196x300Recently, in the back seat of my car, my older son and his best friend were thinking seriously about their futures:

Friend: So when we grow up, which bar in town will be our hang out?

Son: That Irish pub on Main Street–it’s the most like The Winchester. That way we’ll be set in case we have a zombie apocalypse.

[Ruminative moment of silent head-bobbing-while-gazing-out-into-the-distance ensues.]

Both [thoughtfully]: Yeahhhhhh.

[Beat]

Son [brightly]: Because you’ve got to have a plan!

(Scene: “The Plan” from Shaun of the Dead, Universal Pictures)

Five years ago, when this same son was battling chronic insomnia brought on by “scary thoughts” of aliens and dying, I could never have predicted that our family movie nights would one day revolve around spaceships and the walking dead–and yet, here we are, celebrating birthdays with an opening-night viewing of Paul and using zombie-homage-flick Shaun of the Dead as a future-happiness benchmark. The common touchstone to these family favorites is Simon Pegg–screenplay-writer and star of Paul, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Run, Fat Boy, Run (and ensemble-member in the latest Star Trek film-franchise, to boot).

And now, our friend Simon has come out with a book.

Pegg’s frothy, fun autobiography Nerd Do Well is hitting the shelves just in time for a sunscreen-slathered, poncho-wearing day at the beach, or (for those lucky thousands), perusal whilst shuttle bus-ing to San Diego Comic Con–and my sons and I have had a blast dipping into it together:

  • “He met the scarf-y Dr. Who!”
  • “Oh, man! Coldplay played at his pub all the time! At the Winchester!”
  • “He sucked at had a hard time with those standardized tests in school, too!”
  • “Cool! He met Rick from the Young Ones!”

In fact, there are few geek icons Pegg hasn’t had the pleasure of meeting. His list (just off the top of my head) includes: Carrie Fischer, Lou Ferrigno, Gillian Anderson, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, Steven Speilberg, and George Romero, among others.

The devolution into name-dropping lists is one of the book’s flaws–but not a deal-breaker, particularly when the name-dropping is followed by a paragraph, page, or chapter of film criticism. Pegg’s analysis of bromo-eroticism in Starsky and Hutch, the merits and flaws of the Star Wars prequels, and the socio-political underpinnings of the original Star Wars films are all spot-on, as are his existential ruminations on the heresy that is fast-moving zombies:

[We used] the zombies as reflections of various social concerns: collectivism, conformity and the peculiar condition of modern city living. I believe it is this metaphorical richness that forms the cornerstone of their continued appeal. It’s why I get miffed at all the dashing around in recent zombie films. It completely misses the point; transform the threat to a straightforward physical danger from the zombies themselves, rather than our own inability to avoid them, and these films are about us, not them. There’s far more meat on the bones of the latter. The fast zombie is by comparison thin and one-dimensional…

My older son, the aspiring writer, ate these discussions up…

In reading this together, we skipped around the book (with me editing out the mildly-salacious bits–the boys can discover those on their own when they’re 40 or so): we’d look at a chapter title, vote on  its appeal, and dive into another self-effacing, humorous tale from our favorite anti-hero, agreeing all the while (as Pegg says, himself) that, “Geeking out is always more enjoyable in groups of two or more.”

(Note: I received a free copy of Nerd Do Well for review.)