Friday, May 25, 2012

Let Your Geek Flag Fly

by the Ladies of Stellar Four

Happy Geek Pride day! Friends, we have many reasons to celebrate today, for it is the 35th anniversary of the release of Star Wars. It's also Towel Day (Hitchhiker's fans know what we mean) and Glorious 25 May (Pratchett fans know what we mean).

Celebrate your geek pride with us! Read on to see how a group of geeks saved Megan; to read the three ways Sara sees people demonstrating their geekiness; to learn about Meghan's Geek Pride Day resolution; and to discover what fills Kathy's geeky heart with joy.

How Buffy Saved Me

Buffy receives the Class Protector award
By Megan S.

Any fan will tell you, Buffy the Vampire Slayer save the world... a lot.  One time, Buffy saved me, too. It was October of 2001 in Washington, DC and I was suffering through post traumatic stress disorder.  I had moved from California to work for Congress in August soon after graduating from college.  It had been a thrilling adventure, leaving everything and everyone I knew 3,000 miles behind, until Sept. 11.

Sept. 11 in Washington was chaotic.  We knew we were the next target of the multi-city terrorist attack, but not much else.  The district was filled with traffic jams, confusion, and law enforcement scrambling to protect its citizens.  It was almost impossible to get out of the city.  Even if I could have left, I had nowhere to go.  In the end, I stayed with my coworkers at someone's house on the Hill and waited, listening to the news.  That afternoon, I called my parents and told them I loved them, just in case.

It didn't get much better in the days that followed, especially because I hadn't had time to make friends.  Then one early October morning, a young woman from my apartment building sat down at my table and ate breakfast with me.  She introduced herself and began making small talk, asking what I was interested in.  I told her I was a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  She responded, "Then I know some people you'll like." 

She introduced me to her friends, a group of geeks who lived in our building, and it was glorious.  Despite having grown up in a big city, I had never come across anyone who loved science fiction and fantasy as much as I did.  But these wonderful and brilliant young women who worked for some of the most powerful politicians in the U.S. relished their geekiness.  They were funny and goofy, happy to dissect Harry Potter texts for clues and themes late into the night.  We gathered to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, drink beer and watch Lord of the Rings at the Cinema N Drafthouse, make fun of the Star Wars prequels, and get through one of the worst times in our lives together.

So, you see, it really was Buffy who saved me, along with a little help from a group of geeky girls.

The Three Ways Geeks Show Their Pride

by Sara N.

Geek pride is more visible than ever. This is a boon, as it helps proud geeks find their like-minded sistren and brethren. There are three primary ways today to find other out-and-proud geeks: What we wear, what we say, and what we do.

Find me at The Gap!
First, we wear our geek pride. Comic books t-shirts are everywhere, from CafePress to Hot Topic to, heck, even The Gap. Crafters can make a host of items, from something as subtle as a knitted chromosome cap to the more flamboyant Doctor Who scarf to something as out-there as Princess Leia's senatorial gown.

If you see a Captain American t-shirt on someone else at the grocery store, you get a little glow knowing that's a fellow fan. If you spot a Jayne hat going down the street, you know a) that person is not afraid of anything and b) that's a fellow geek. It's hard not to fist-bump someone you see outfitted in a physical manifestation of your own fandom.

The second declaration of geek pride is what we say. Here are some conversational giveaways that you're talking to a geek:
  • Shiny!
  • Do or do not; there is no try.
  • So say we all.
  • Bored now.
  • Frak! 
  • You eeeediot (Ren and Stimpy style.)
  • Five by five.
  • Allons-y!
  • Make it so.
  • You Shall! Not! Pass!
  • Making a snikt noise and calling people "bub."
  • Accio anything.
If someone says that in conversation, you know it's someone who loves the work and is looking for that subtle, silent head incline of acknowledgement from his or her fellow geeks.

Where's his flashlight?
The final demonstration of geek pride is what we do. We go to midnight premieres of the Hunger Games, and we do it in costume. We line up for hours to buy the final Harry Potter book, engaging in excited conversation with those in line around us. We take light saber lessons. We geek out over the new tablets that make reading comic books a delight. (This is my brother.) We put bumper stickers on our cars that say "Follow me. I know the way to Earth." (This is my sister.) We keep a 20-sided die in our pockets to roll as a decision-making device. (This is my husband.) We keep a Fox Mulder action figure in our office. (This is me.)

Here's a small example of how geek pride manifests itself out in the world. The other week, my husband and I were scoping out the weight room at the gym, pondering what equipment would be most useful in a zombie invasion. (Yes, really. This was our conversation.) We became aware that a man at the gym was waiting patiently to get to the E-Z bar. We apologized and explained that we were just talking about zombie weapons. There was a pause, and then the guy responded, "I see your Schwartz is as big as mine."

My husband and I were charmed. In geek speak, what this nice stranger said was, "I don't share your interest in zombies, but I do have a passion of my own, and that is for the 1987 Mel Brooks classic spoof Space Balls. I'm trusting that you will understand and appreciate my fandom, as zombie aficionados often overlap with space movie junkies."

Geek solidarity, brothers and sisters. Geek solidarity.

I Am A Giant Nerd!

By Meghan B

An author I love to quote is a gentleman (nay, a scholar!) named John Green. He and his equally nerdy brother Hank created the Vlogbrothers channel on YouTube many moons ago. Since then, they have been devoted to decreasing world suck and increasing general levels of awesome in the universe. To the left you will see one of John Green's greatest quotes, one of the things I endeavor to live by. Nerds like us are allowed to be super duper batcrap crazy about things. And you know what? That's awesome!

Being a nerd (or a geek or any other term you want to use) should be a badge of pride we carry upon ourselves. Heads held high. Backs straight. Proud.

I have a bad habit of saying "Sorry, I'm a giant nerd" after I finish a long, wordy and intelligent rant about something. Whether it's explaining to a coworker how to fix the printer or expounding to a friend about a book I'm obsessed with, I always feel the subconscious need to apologize for being enthusiastic and knowledgeable. It's my Geek Pride Day resolution to stop apologizing for being awesome.

I love books. I love music. I love art. I love the internet and memes. I love Doctor Who and Sherlock and My Little Ponies. I still know the Sailor Moon theme song by heart, and I can quote just about every line ever written by Joss Whedon. I swoon over Neil Gaiman and still flail a little when an author I love and admire talks to me on Twitter. I will no longer be ashamed of my nerdy feats of derring-do. Geek Pride Day is a day to embrace what we love, what makes us happy and what makes us awesome. I am extremely proud to consider myself a geek.

Being a geek is a modern day philosophy. A new outlook for the 21st century. Embrace it. Be proud of it. Never apologize.

It's Good to be a Geek

by Kathy F

I can't remember the exact day I fully embraced my geekiness and accepted myself for the nerd I was and always will be. Considering my steady diet of Star Wars, Star Trek and Doctor Who fed to me by my folks, and the fact that my friends drooled over Wesley Crusher and later Agent Dale Cooper, I think it was inevitable.

I admit it, I get a little thrill when I wear a t-shirt with a subtle geek joke and only one other person I see that day gets it. There might be a geek-splosion in the entertainment world, but that doesn't make everyone a geek. I still get the judgmental sniff from the occasional non-geek when they find out what I'm reading, but screw them. I'm happy. My body might be getting older, but I think my daily doses of creativity from my very non-realistic worlds help keep my mind young. If I'm 80, re-reading Kate Daniels for the thousandth time and I still get asked when I will grow up, I'll consider that a win.

Staring them young - Superhero Little People from Fisher-Price
And in the end, that's what is most important. I've had a year filled with incredible highs and lows, and being happy in the moment, capturing those memories, that's gold. For me, that means getting my hands on an urban fantasy I've been waiting for, introducing the kids to He-Man and She-Ra, re-creating Army of Darkness scenes with Legos, doing science experiments with my daughter, playing Star Wars video games with my son, watching the kids explain Wonder Woman and Batgirl to their baby sister. We're geeks and proud of it.

So today, I'll dress in my Wonder Woman t-shirt, pack a towel in the diaper bag, and...wait, that's what I do every day. I will wear my snazzy Geek Pride pin, though.

Want More Geek Pride?

Check out this Geek Pride Day survey graphic from Modis, which shows that respect for geeks is one the rise. See how geeky you are with this surprisingly comprehensive quiz. And follow the fun on Twitter by searching #GeekPrideDay

How are you celebrating Geek Pride Day today?
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  1. Great post ladies! I resemble basically everything. I especially know the struggle of not having a lot of geek ladies around me after my recent move. I miss my old geek friends, and I'm having a hard time finding new ones in VA :-(

    I really loved the John Green quote as well. I live by a John Green quote too: "What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable?"

    Sure, my hopes of writing books or producing a web series may never pan out, but at least I tried to do something remarkable.

    I am celebrating geek pride day by sulking at work, sadly :-( Somebody has got to be around when the computers break around here!

    1. Thanks, Erin!

      Have you started writing, yet? I overheard Meghan, Kathy and Sara all talking about Camp NaNoWriMo starting in a few days. It might a good place for you to start :D

  2. Was it really only after 9/11 that we met, Megan? I feel like I've known you so much longer than that...

    Yes, that group of geeky ladies was a lifesaver time and time again as we all went through our struggles. For me it was Thanksgiving of that same year, when I found out quite abruptly that I was going to have to move back home. I sank into a two week depression that only ended because you guys were there to prop me back up. Meeting that whole group of Buffy/West Wing/Harry Potter/LotR-lovin' ladies was the best thing that's happened to me so far!

    1. Sometimes it all feels like it happened a lifetime ago and sometimes it feels like less than a year ago. But, you're right, it does feel like we've all known each other forever :D

      Thank goodness I met y'all before the 'thrax in October. That series of attacks would have been the straw that broke the camel's back. I would have packed up my things and moved right back home.