Confessions of a Geek

Theme ThursdayThis post originally appeared as a guest post on my friend MJ Mele’s blog An Old and Cranky Gamer.  When I heard that this week’s Theme Thursday was going to be geek culture, I of course had to dig into my files to retrieve this gem masterpiece mindless drivel.  Read on to read about my experience as a lady geek.

You know I never actually got to go to band camp? The above picture could very well be me:  A redhead who played the flute in band from elementary school through college and beyond.  But I never went to band camp, so technically I can’t have the cool catch phrase “Like this one time, in band camp…”

My band days may be long gone, but that doesn’t make things much different for me. Throw me in any social situation these days and I’m like a fish out of water, a hobbit out of the shire, or dare I say a taun taun in the desert.  I know, AWKWARD.  I live in rural Iowa where I fit in sooooo well.  Good times.

Part of my problem is my inherent inability to make this thing known as small talk.  While I can talk about the weather for a few minutes, and maybe a thing or two about my kids, the vast majority of things that fascinate other people don’t even really register on my radar.

That’s because I speak GEEK.  Yeah, I’m one of those.  Not only am I a geek, I’m also married to one.  In addition to this, I’m raising my very own geeklings.  I’ve seen and I can totally kick your butt at Star Wars trivia.

Evil Genius at the Lego Store at the Mall of America.  He dreams of a Lego Death Star.  His mean wife keeps telling him no.

Evil Genius at the Lego Store at the Mall of America. He dreams of a Lego Death Star. His mean wife keeps telling him no.

Don’t get me wrong, I like some of the things that decidedly normal people like.  I like clothes.  I work out.  I love movies and music.  I like a big glass of wine on the weekends.  I like to look at Pinterest.  But despite all of these things I seriously belong to a whole other world.

Years ago I tried to hide my geekiness and act like normal people, but as I have gotten older and have been referred to more than once as kind of weird, I realize that it really doesn’t matter any more.

So I’m going to make it a little easier on you people.  I present to you the vastly contrasting things between what would be considered a “normal” female’s world and mine:

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I like to talk about movies.  But don’t talk to me about The Notebook or Silver Linings Playbook.   I’d rather talk about Iron Man 3.

IMG_1733Oh, you know a little French?  I know a little Klingon.

Golf is a four letter word in your house?   Hmmmm, Skyrim is the same thing in my house.

Do you own pets named Fluffy and Spike?  Mine are named Rogue,  Neo, and Tiberius.

What do your kids like to spend money on?  My 5 and 8 year old children pooled their Christmas money so that they could buy Skylanders for our Xbox.

So you say you can name all of the people on Real Housewives of Orange County?  I can name every major character on all five Star Trek series.

You said you’ve read the whole 50 Shades of Grey Trilogy?  I’ve read the whole Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

You named your kids names like Emma and Brayden.  We considered names like Jadzia and Zephram.

You spent your Saturday morning getting a pedicure?  I spent mine at the comic book store.

My son loves the comic book store.  Where else can you hang out with Leonard and Sheldon?

My son loves the comic book store. Where else can you hang out with Leonard and Sheldon?

Your say your kids got an Xbox? I’ll see your Xbox and raise you an Atari, a 3DO, a Nintendo, a SuperNintendo, a GameCube, a Playstation 2, and a TANDY.  Yes, a Tandy.

Your favorite show is Gossip Girl?  Mine is The Big Bang Theory.

You went to see Sex and the City on opening night?  I saw Star Trek: Insurrection on opening night.  I was one of the only girls there, unless you counted the ones in the ISU Marching Band.  By the way that had to be the coolest night of my life.

How many times have you watched Bridgette Jones Diary?  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen The Empire Strikes Back at least 100 times.

You play the Sims a little?  I bet my husband’s Sims could kick your Sims asses.

What did you ask for when it was your birthday?  I asked to go see Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness!

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So there you have it.  I’m totally okay with being a big geek.  If that scares you away, so be it.  I wouldn’t be trying too hard to talk to you anyway!  😉

I also wrote about accepting my geekiness many moons ago in the post Learning To Embrace Geekdom.

Now go forth and read further about geek culture by clicking on the Theme Thursday button at the top! 

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Sorry I Missed Church, I Was Smoking Crack With Satan

Amen to that.

“I don’t object to the concept of a deity, but I’m baffled by the notion of one that takes attendance.”-Amy Farrah Fowler to Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory.

I believe in a higher power.  I also believe in guardian angels.  I believe in miracles.  I believe in all that stuff.  However, what I don’t believe in is that you need to dress up and put your behind in a pew every Sunday just to show people that you are a Christian.  I know there are people who go to church religiously.  Every Sunday.  Rain or shine, snow or sleet, neither snow nor rain nor darkness can keep them from it.  Oh hang on a minute, that’s the Post Office.  I’m happy for them.  I’m really glad that they  do that.  I wish I could be one of those people but I am not.  And believe me, I feel guilty as hell for it.

I have had an on again, off again relationship with the church I attend.  It has nothing to do with the church itself.  It has everything to do with my life these days.  When you have other people who control the various aspects of your life, you don’t always go.  And for the record, it’s not MY church.  I am not  a member.  Neither is my husband.  We live in a very small town where there are only two churches.  Both are Lutheran.  I am a Methodist, currently without a church.  They disowned me.  No it’s not as bad as it sounds.  We don’t live in that town anymore and my husband does not desire to drive there every Sunday.  When they changed pastors, they basically threw out all the members that don’t attend.  Anyway, we attend the church a couple of blocks from our house.  It’s a nice little church.

I have two children (you knew that, right?).  When I have gone to church I don’t get to sit and listen.  I haven’t actually heard a whole sermon in years.  Most of the time I am dealing with my children, or really distracted by them (damn ADD).  I really don’t get a whole lot out of it.  It’s too small of a church to have a staffed nursery.  There is a small room that the children can play in, but I have to go with them.  It’s not like I can just send them down by themselves.  And there’s something in that room.  SOME. THING. In that room (just picture William Shatner saying it).  I get some sort of allergy attack when I go in there, in addition to the fact that I am extremely claustrophobic. When a room has no windows, I have issues with it.  I end up going home with a migraine every time.  So we don’t  do the nursery.

My husband has gone to church this whole time because he sings in the choir.  Is that weird?  The non musician sings in the choir.  And does solos.  I have recently started attempt #2 to be in the choir.  Princess Naughty pretty much put a stop to it last time.  Between the fact that we had to find someone to watch our kids during the time we sing and misbehavior during choir practice, it didn’t last long.  My choir career stopped the night during practice when she managed to empty the contents of the organist’s purse in between running sprints around the church like a maniac during practice.  Evil Genius can’t track all of her movements because tenors sit up in the back corner and he can’t see her.  This time, a year later, she is older and is semi well behaved during practice.  Sort of, at least comparative to last year. Last practice I missed quite a bit of what was going on-I dealt with her laying under the choir pews, hanging off the pews, and generally being a stinker.  When I threatened to take her out of there, of course she wanted to go.  I stuck it out, though.  I don’t know how long it will last.  Which is too bad, because I like singing in the choir.  I don’t get to do much anymore.

And then we went through a period where the kids only wanted to go to Sunday School.  Evil Genius didn’t want to make them go to church if they didn’t want to.  So I stayed home with them and he went.  Occasionally there would be a morning where both wanted to go.  One of two things would usually happen.  Like I assumed they weren’t going and therefore didn’t do something important like showering (trust me you REALLY want me to shower before I come to church.)  Then both kids would go with my husband and I stayed home, while people thought I was smoking crack with Satan.  Or my husband didn’t go, and therefore none of us went.  Now we’re to the point where they both want to go most weeks.  Which is good, since I have started singing in the choir again.

Where am I going with this?  I just get tired of people who have to point out that we weren’t there.  I know I wasn’t there.  You don’t need to tell me.  It wasn’t like I fell into an alternate universe that morning.  There was a reason why I wasn’t there.  I always feel like I then have to explain myself.  No, I really don’t.  I have literally had people come up to me at our Post Office and tell me that we need to come to church.  I live in a small town.  I’m glad that you feel so passionately about your church, but you don’t know what goes on in my house.  I’m not in control some days.  Most days.

This morning was particularly bad for me.  I have not taken my meds for a couple of days.  I had anxiety oozing out of me.  If you could see it, it probably looked like ectoplasm.  Anyway, I got up in plenty of time to get my kids up and around and get presentable and so forth.  I had just laid church clothes out for my daughter when Evil Genius called from the bedroom that we weren’t going.  The guy works the equivalent of two full time jobs, that’s like a zillion hours a week.  If he is tired and wants to rest, that’s ok!   He told me I could go if I want to.  No.  I have tried that before.  When my kids misbehave, I can’t stand people staring at us.  And they do that when their Dad isn’t there.  More the little one, but The Professor has his moments.  I don’t want to disrupt anyone’s church service.

Our church is a little different from others in that Sunday School is after church, not before.  I missed that meeting, not sure what the reasoning was behind that.  Anyway, I took the kids over about the time that church gets over in my yoga pants and hooded sweatshirt.  As we turned the corner, I saw a gazillion cars in the parking lot.  I so wanted to turn the kids loose and just let them go in by themselves.  But I can’t let my kids be unsupervised.  I see too many kids that just run wild.  So I went in.  There were people everywhere.  There was cake and a very formal reception.  Of course my children HAVE to go in and have snacks, because it’s all about the snacks, right?  Long time members of the church were having a wedding anniversary.  People were decked out in their finest, and I was in my sweats and my hair in a ponytail.  I stood out like a sore thumb.  I made sure they got their cake and their punch.  I know I got a couple of dirty looks.  I just wanted to run and hide.  “Missed you in church today,” was said by a couple of people.  I tried to defend ourselves:  “My husband wasn’t feeling well”. “I just live there.”  “Talk to my husband”.  I just wanted to run and hide. The Sunday School teachers were nowhere in sight.  Someone asked a question, I cheerfully answered it, and she acted like I wasn’t talking to her.  How dare I talk to anyone!  I didn’t go to church today!  I let the entire choir down because I wasn’t there!  Or something like that.

I finally was able to locate my daughter’s Sunday School teacher, to make sure I wasn’t just leaving my children.  And I literally ran out of there.  I felt awful.  I was just bringing my kids to Sunday School.  I guess I could have kept them home like I have so many times in the past.  There are so few young people in the church as it is, and I was horrible, evil, terrible.  As I walked home, my ears felt like they were on fire, tears welled up in eyes.  I wanted hop in my car and drive away from this town.  All because I was feeling bad for not going to church.

I walked in the door, told Evil Genius he was picking them up, took my meds, and took the dog for a walk.  I walked around town as far away from the church as I could, tears streaming down my face.  Why do I care what people think? I know my husband doesn’t.  I shouldn’t.  I know that I can’t please everyone all the time.  I know not everyone will like me.  But often I feel like people hate me.  It’s part of the anxiety.  But what people don’t understand is that I’ll just quit coming instead of dealing with it, because I hate confrontation.  And I feel bad enough, I don’t need more stuff to feel bad about.

It didn’t particularly end well.  Evil Genius went to get the kids.  He came back with one child.  Princess Tantrum was waiting just where she was supposed to along with her Sunday School teacher.  The older kids tend to run way over, and he couldn’t find the Professor.  So he brought the Princess home and went back for my son.  Who had been playing in the nursery for some reason and then tried to walk home by himself.  Apparently punishment for his evil mother who didn’t come to church. After everyone was home and lectured, I realized they had both left their coats there.  I wasn’t about to go back for them.

If you are one of those people who do actually get to church every week, I’m very happy for you.  If you feel welcome and accepted where you are, how does that happen?  What’s the secret?  Just do me a favor, if we don’t come that week, don’t mention it.  Because we’ll be back.  I just don’t know when.

I know he’s watching. He knows why we don’t come to church sometimes…

Learning to Embrace Geekdom

I am a geek.

Harry Anderson of “Night Court” fame once told of the origin of the word geek.  He said it was what they called the circus performer who bit the heads off of chickens.

Today’s version of a geek is much more friendly.  The “I Geek…” program that has been so well promoted has really helped with that.  Geek more refers to something that you have a keen interest in.  I also think the show “Big Bang Theory” has a lot to do with it.  I love that show.  Geeks trying to relate to people who aren’t.  It’s kind of like my life.  It’s almost cool to be a geek these days, depending on what kind of geek you are.

Being a geek is now cool!

I am a geek on several levels.

The version that most people know me as is the band geek.  The music geek.  I was in marching band and LOVED it.  Symphonic Band, Orchestra, Pep Band.  My life in high school revolved around instrumental music.  I had a hard time understanding that other people didn’t enjoy it like I did, like my high school boyfriend (he quit band-he rolled his eyes when I talked about it.  No wonder we broke up.)  I was good at it because I worked hard-it didn’t come naturally for me.  I was so jealous of my friends that were naturally so good they got to do things like All-State Band and the State Fair Band.  In college I was in those things and then expanded into vocal music.  I played in the municipal band and the regional symphony.  For a while I was a music teacher.  Now I’m now.  That’s another post.

You know I never actually got to go to band camp?

Then there are the other layers of geek.  I like movies.  I like some TV.  I love Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Superheroes.  The original Star Wars movies are still some of my all time favorites-there was a time when I could recite “The Empire Strikes Back” word for word.  My son has all the action figures that I had as a child (sorry collectors, they are not still in the boxes).  I get excited when there I find “Star Trek:  TNG” on TV.  I went to “Star Trek:  Nemesis” on opening night.  When I went to the new Star Trek movie, I almost cried when it was over because I never wanted it to end.  I waited in almost painful anticipation for the Avengers movie to be released. Harry Potter was magical to me-I saw the movies wishing that there had been such a thing when I was a kid.

I’ve just been waiting for an excuse to use this…

I have not read “50 Shades of Gray”, though I did check out an excerpt online because I wanted to know what the hell everyone was talking about (It’s PORN!  I’m sorry, that is porn.)  I have however read most of Robert Heinlein’s vast collection.  Alan Dean Foster, JR Tolkien, Brian Daley, Isaac Asimov, those are all very familiar names to me.  I used to read a book a day.  I was a little bookworm as a child.  I am trying very hard to get back to reading something that isn’t a magazine article these days-but when you have kids it’s hard!

But not all the geeks like the same stuff.  For the record, I’ve seen a little of Dr Who, but never got into it.  Never seen Babylon 5.  Saw the Stargate movie-never seen the show.  Watched some of Battlestar Galactica, but kept forgetting it was on (if it wasn’t for my DVR, I probably wouldn’t know when anything was on.  Again, another post).  Watched Smallville for a spell, then lost interest.  I don’t get into the whole Twilight/Vampire thing-though I have really enjoyed Being Human on the Sci-Fi channel.  Oh I’m sorry, it’s Sy-Fy.  Never quite understood why they changed the spelling-just how stupid do they think people are?

When we moved back to the Midwest after years of being a military family I started to get embarrassed about the things I liked.  For years I pretended that I had no interest in the stuff.  Mainly because I liked guys and I wanted one to like me back.  Thank goodness I finally met my husband.  I married him because I could be myself around him, and he likes the same stuff I do-movies, sci-fi, books, music, etc. We often speak in TV or movie quotes at home.  Let’s face it, he’s the Band Geek who never joined the band (I love the American Pie movies, and there is a good reason why).  Yes I am in a Geek Marriage.  But that’s ok.

He is a geek in more ways than I.  For example, he is a science geek.  He took Quantum Physics FOR FUN.  He also loves video games.  He plays World of Warcraft and City of Heroes.  We have every older video gaming system they made, including an Atari and a 3DO.  I think he salivates whenever we pass a Gamestop.  And he loves Comic Books-he takes my kids to the comic book store for fun.  He is currently designing metal signs for people’s cubicles at work based up their interests.  When his is complete, the world will stop and take notice.  That’s because it’s the Iron Man face, complete with a replica of an arc reactor that lights up.  He wants to be able to take it out and wear it.  I’m glad they embrace his weirdness at work… I tease him about it, but I love it.

I’m so glad he has found his niche.  His love of sports (mainly football-once again, that’s another post) is something that is very relatable to others. Outside of our family it’s hard for me to relate to other people that like the same things I do.  I guess because I’m a girl.  I’m still seen as the odd girl.  Quiet until you get to know me, developing the social anxiety hasn’t helped!  I remember vividly a few years ago when I was working with kids in a local after school program.  My boss told an entire room of people right in front of me how I’m kind of odd, and that was good because I could relate to the weird kids.  I wasn’t sure whether to be embarrassed or proud at that moment.

My husband has never been embarrassed of his interests.  He proudly lets people know what he likes.  He wears Star Wars and Star Trek t-shirts.  He lends out the movies he really likes to people who haven’t been exposed to the stuff.  I’m still embarrassed to show up the book that I’m currently reading in public-it’s the very first book ever written based upon “Star Trek:  TNG”.

Part of my goal now that I have more time to devote to being myself is getting to the point that I’m ok with being me.  Learning to embrace Geekdom, and learning about what is actually interesting about me being, well ME.  Developing the part that counts, the part on the inside, and stop worrying so darn much about what other people think!  So if you are offended that I am, well, such a GEEK, then stop reading my blog!!!

Not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have found a partner in Geekdom as I have.  Oh boy, my kids are DOOMED!  Again, that’s another post…