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I know, I know, geeks are those guys who breathe through their mouths all the time and live in their parents' basements, right?  Uh, no, wrong.  Quit reinforcing stereotypes.  It's an unfair stereotype, and is just as hateful and obnoxious as any other ugly stereotype.  Just because it's true for some does not mean it's true for all.  Geeks come in all shapes and colors, genders and orientations.  I once bought a Star Trek phaser at ThinkGeek for a transgendered (MTF) friend for her birthday.  She is one of the biggest science fiction geeks I know, and she is also an amazing person, and I am a better person for becoming her friend.

My fellow geeks, I hope to set you free, and to make you feel welcome in talking about what may have been your "secret shame", at least in your own minds, in that you are obsessed with video games and Star Trek trivia and action figures and Tolkien and 20 sided dice.  I am here to bring you out into the light, and to help people see that geeks are not someone to be kicked around and made fun of all the time.  Those days are over.  Think of me as the Ethan Gilsdorf of DK.  I am here to help.  I am an ambassador between you and the rest of the world.  

So continue reading, if you like.  And all of you who are getting to know me, well, this is a big part of who I am, although I admittedly was pretty secretive about it myself until just a few years ago.  

I have gotten a lot of inspiration in recent years from people like Ethan Gilsdorf (whom I had the pleasure and honor of meeting in person and talking with a fair bit), Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, Vin Diesel,  Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kal Penn, and Kevin Smith.  I love to see how characters like Tim McGee on NCIS and Penelope Garcia and Dr. Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds are making geek culture more mainstream (even if they do occasionally continue to feed some of the stereotypes on occasion).  It means that we are no longer invisible.  With no disrespect intended for my GLBTQ friends, we are coming out of the closet.

Maybe some of you out there are thinking I am full of shit.  Maybe some of you are thinking I am overblowing things, or making myself out to be a bigger geek than I really am.  Uh, no.  I am a big fucking geek.  No, I don't have any Star Trek or Star Wars costumes hanging up in the closet, but I did dress up as a knight of Gondor for Halloween years ago, and I also dressed up as Shaun from Shaun of the Dead more than once.  So yeah, its real, fuckers.  I have played D&D games where every person in the room was either a defense contractor or in the military.  I have played with married couples that hold down extremely well-paying jobs.  I once played a campaign with a room full of people with CISSP certifications.  We are not all video store clerks (although I will admit that I worked at a video store in my twenties for a while, so eat me).  

You have to understand, even now I have a tendency to view the world through my geek glasses.  You think I am kidding?  Allow me to quote myself from a political rant I wrote recently in which I tried to describe American politics using some common geek terminology.  Alignments from D&D, to be specific.

Let me put it in D&D terms for all my fellow gamers out there.

Republicans these days are generally Neutral Evil, as they generally are going to take whatever position benefits them the most and fuck everyone else. Their position on pretty much anything will change when they suddenly realize that they can benefit from the change, and principles be damned (and yes, some Dems fall into this category as well, but not remotely on the same scale). Sometimes laws are good (DOMA), and sometimes laws are bad (regulations on banks). Sometimes states' rights are good (keep Washington out of our business) and sometimes states' rights are bad (those hippies in California and Oregon can't be allowed to legalize marijuana or assisted suicide). Sometimes the teachings of Jesus are good (He died for our sins) and sometimes the teachings are bad (all that stuff about helping poor people and that bit about camels and needles). Sometimes science is good (we CAN make Star Wars work!) but sometimes science is bad (global warming, evolution, etc.). Sometimes entertainers are morons who should stay out of politics (Barbara Streisand, Matt Damon, Bono), and sometimes entertainers are goddamn political geniuses (Victoria Jackson, Ted Nugent, Jon Voight). You get the idea. But an increasingly larger portion is Chaotic Evil, such as the Tea Party. They will vote for policies that actually harm themselves as well as other people. They cheer when people die, and they cheer at the prospect of people suffering. They love wars and rumors of wars. They believe violence is a perfectly acceptable means of solving any and all problems, and thus they care more about the Second Amendment than anything else in the Bill of Rights. They hate pretty much everyone - ethnic minorities, religious minorities, immigrants, foreigners, liberals, intellectuals, gays, the poor, journalists (real ones anyway), even people in their own party who aren't Evil (or Chaotic Evil) enough. Hell, a good portion of them are literally excited about the prospect of the End of the World and they hope it comes sooner rather than later. What is more Chaotic Evil than that?

Democrats these days are a little more complicated. We keep voting for them because we think they as a whole are Lawful Good and believe their big tent includes all of the other shades of Good: Neutral Good folks like Nancy Pelosi, Dennis Kucinich, Keith Olbermann, and Anthony Weiner (before he put his wang on the Internet) or Chaotic Good people like Ralph Nader, Al Sharpton, Michael Moore, and a lot of people in Hollywood. The problem is that a lot of the party leadership has steadily moved towards a Neutral alignment and yet people still think they are all in the Good camp. Oh really? I think the President has made a compelling case to plant himself firmly in the Lawful Neutral camp, as have Harry Reid and a lot of other Democratic members of Congress. If they were really still Lawful Good do you think they would have allowed Guantanamo to stay open? Do you think that they would have remained so lukewarm on corporate reform after all of the economic shenanigans and debacles of the last decade? Do you think they would remain so wishy-washy on the outright destructive policies of their Evil counterparts in the GOP? Hell no. They would be wading into those motherfuckers in righteous anger like a Paladin in a cemetery full of undead. And yet they aren't. Actions speak louder than words, people.

I am VERY glad that the President seems to be coming around on some of the economic issues, at least in his speeches, and that he has come so far in support of the GLBTQ community.  But that doesn't change the fact that he recently had an American citizen killed without trial.  Hell, the guy hadn't even charged with anything.  And yet they killed him.  Although I see its many flaws, I generally believe in the system, and I think that once we start disregarding laws and the Constitution with callous disregard, we are in real trouble.  

My point is, I am a vet, yes, but I am also a geek, and I think geeks should not be afraid to make themselves known, because if you are smart enough to memorize made-up languages, you should be smart enough to get more involved in politics.  I am no longer afraid to talk about who I am.  Join me.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Two words: Ancient Babylonia (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mommyof3, LivingOxymoron, yuriwho, llbear

  •  If (5+ / 0-)

    the world were as simple as good and evil, they wouldn't make 100-sided dice :-)

    PS,  I have no 'secret shame', and the only closet I'm in is the one I use to write.

    Happy Geeking :-)

    •  I had so many girlfriends who HATED my gaming (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      llbear

      Where I used to live, so many people thought D&D was "Satanic" that sometimes I literally had to be careful who was around when I discussed it.  Alabama was such a screwed up place that way.  Too many fundies.

  •  Huzzah for the Geeks! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BachFan, angelajean, llbear, BusyinCA

    We come in all shapes and sizes now.  I'm a proud geek who LARPs Vampire, throws d20s in D&D and fists full of d10s for Mage, and DVRs Fringe, Supernatural, Walking Dead, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

    I was also an enlisted Marine for 4 years, and am on track to be a Naval Officer.

    And I do all of that WITH my wife, who INSISTED we see all the comic book movies this summer, and even out geeks me with her slavish devotion to Dr. Who.  And she's a total fitness junkie.

    I think modern translators got it wrong... I think the bible really said, "The geek shall inherit the earth".

    "If you don't stick to your values when tested, they're not values! They're hobbies" - Jon Stewart

    by LivingOxymoron on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:40:54 PM PDT

    •  I am marrying a geek soon (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      llbear

      Actually meeting a woman who did not shit on me for being into history and computers and Harry Potter and everything was a really liberating experience.  

      Two of the last groups I played D&D with included spouses and their teenage kids.  Not something I would have imagined doign when I started playing in middle school.  

  •  As an aside... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BachFan, angelajean, KVoimakas, llbear

    The biggest geeks I know are in the military.

    One guy in my unit was a Topographical Analyst and surveyor.  He had ink on at least 20% of his body, and would come home from work and go immediately to the gym for 2 hours.

    Then he would stay up until 2am playing MMORPGs on one of the sweetest gaming rigs you've ever seen that he built himself.

    "If you don't stick to your values when tested, they're not values! They're hobbies" - Jon Stewart

    by LivingOxymoron on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:47:05 PM PDT

    •  I was an 11Bravo and I build my own computers too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      llbear

      When I was still playing WoW (and before that, when I was playing EQ and EQ II) it always amused me to see how many people in my guild were people who were deployed overseas and still managed to get online to do stuff.  If I ever get back on my feet money wise I might try playing WoW again.  

  •  LOVE! (5+ / 0-)

    Some of the best WoW-guildies I've ever had were military.  My upstairs neighbor/friend is reserves and he (shhhhhh) bought my account off me when I quit.

    I started playing in high school (boyfriend at the time introduced me) and man I was so ashamed of it...I was most certainly not the kind of girl you would expect to be playing video games, and I was under no circumstances going to let that image be "tarnished."

    Thank goodness I grew out of that bullshit.

    Now I'm engaged to a super nerd with a blue glowing computer, a huge comic book collection, binders full of Magic cards, and action figures (boy he gets mad when I call them toys...).  When we first started dating, he would tell me WoW-lore "bedtime stories" before we got off the phone at night.  

    I think geeks are becoming more accepted in general society.  At least, video games and such are--XBox especially.  Personally I'm waiting for the science geeks to become more mainstream...I still get harassed by my "geeky" friends when I geek out about cool science stuff.  

    •  I agree - gaming is certainly more accepted (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      llbear

      but that is mostly PC and console gaming.  I think old-fashioned paper and dice gaming is still looked at a bit askance.  

      Love the story about WoW lore.  When I played EQ, I was the moderator for the roleplaying story discussion board on my server.  And I used to write a lot of material myself.  

      •  PC gaming isn't accepted as much as console (0+ / 0-)

        we had roommates who would stay up until 4am every night playing Call of Duty on XBox live, but would harass us for playing WoW and raiding 4 nights a week.

        You're definitely right about paper gaming -- I admit to not ever getting into that end of things.  My gaming experience starts and ends with PC.  I wasn't allowed consoles as a kid, and so my controller-fingers never really developed...Let me just say Uno and Dragon Age is as far as I can get on the XBox before I get way too frustrated and revert back to my familiar keyboard :)

        Interestingly, I RP'd a lot online when I was younger, but that was mostly centered around horse related things (been riding since the age of 6!).  I never really connected it with my later gaming habits.  There was this online game called Virtual Horse Ranch, which might as well have been paper and dice -- no graphics unless you made your own for your horses (which my little sister and I learned Photoshop to do) and really, really basic.  I always tell people that's how I got started gaming and they give me funny looks.

  •  heh, i used it in my userID. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BachFan, angelajean, KVoimakas, llbear

    By way of the "geek universe" subculture of programmers, engineers, and sysadmins in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Among my friends, "toolmaker" is a high compliment.

    No interest in gaming, but I'm a telephone switching systems eng with about 30 years in the field, and an oldschool phone phreak back in the day (colored boxes included, long long ago).

    I don't have a tricked-out PC on my desk but I do have 3 - 4 laptops side by side, spanning the usual range of operating systems for different purposes.

    And of course a PBX at home, with a backdoor route to a red phone next to my bed (GPO type 746 if anyone's interested).  

    At this very moment I'm supposed to be working up an estimate on reprogramming a voicemail system to do something that involves dealing with two conflicting design constraints.

    "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 12:29:26 AM PDT

    •  Wow, phone phreaking - LOL (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      llbear

      Man, that brings back some memories.  I used to know a guy who had a whole BellSouth outfit he would use to get some free long distance from time to time.  Hard hat and all.  

      •  the funny thing is... (0+ / 0-)

        .... after I traded my naughty hacking for real work in the industry (a common path in those days), I discovered that when wearing the usual toolbelt, I could just walk into any building and ask for access to a phone or the main cross-connects, and get it, no questions asked.   This made the job easy, and it also made for an expedient way to call the office back in the days before cellphones existed.  All of that came to a screeching halt after 9/11.  

        "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 12:44:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  so I wonder about this: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, KVoimakas, llbear, BusyinCA

    The relative distribution of geeks in MI vs. combat arms vs. logistics.

    From what I've seen, there are a lot in MI, but today's weapons systems and logistical infrastructure have major potential for attracting geeks as well.

    OK, so here's what tomorrow's military looks like:

    All the rightie winger religious extremists have run away shrieking about being terrified of being stared at in the shower.

    Being gay is no big deal, and being "hit on" by someone of the gender you're not interested in is no big deal either ("Sorry, sister, I'm into guys, but my buddy over here is straight & single...").

    Geekdom has proliferated to the point where combat operations are frequently described in gaming terms, and math jokes proliferate in all branches of the service.   Physical training combines with science, and muscles & brains go together.  

    Foreign foes look at this with complete puzzlement, right up to the point where it knocks them flat.  

    "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 12:39:23 AM PDT

    •  Almost all the ones I knew were combat arms (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      llbear

      But that is because most of the people I knew were combat arms.  

      Later on, as I got more into MMORPGs, I met a lot more military people in other fields and in other services who were also into everything as much as me.  I think the general distribution is pretty wide but it would be interesting to see a more statistical analysis.  

      •  yeah that would be interesting. (0+ / 0-)

        Checklist of different characteristics of geekdom, filled out by everyone who enlists, and filled out again each time they re-up.

        Interesting patterns would probably emerge.  Could also prove useful for training purposes.

        "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 12:48:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think a lot of vets are geeky this way. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llbear

    And their families are as well.

    Last deployment, I introduced my boys to Star Trek, The Next Generation. Instead of sitting down to the dinner table where we would miss their dad we would sit down in front of the TV and share time with Jean Luc and crew. They became family for a little while.

    Do you play Settlers of Catan? Maybe we can invite you over some time for a game :)

  •  A joke only a geek could love (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llbear, BusyinCA

    "We don't serve faster-than-light time particles here!"
    A neutrino walks into a bar.

  •  Couldn't resist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llbear

    Full disclosure; after I got my Netflix account, I watched all 100+ episodes of Babylon 5 straight through (about 2 a day).

    "Remember Bob. No fear, no envy, no meanness" Liam Clancy to Bob Dylan

    by BOHICA on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 06:34:16 AM PDT

  •  You know, I always thought I was geek-y kinda (0+ / 0-)

    After reading this, not so much. I'm not into games or gaming. I just don't have time. But I am amazed at all you gamers and your attention to detail. It seems to me that you are all actors, playing your roles at your convenience on stages located within your computer programs.

    Bring them all home NOW. There is no longer any excuse.

    by llbear on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 09:24:07 AM PDT

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