Nerd

I gladly embrace being called a nerd. Not always. There was a time when I solely thought of myself as a geek and distanced myself from nerds.

A jock-y coworker professes to hate nerds. Even as he works with computers all day, enjoys checks, and spends hours figuring out how to improve his strength numbers. Don’t call him a nerd though.

He also describes me as the biggest nerd he knows. Possible. But, that just means he needs to get out more. This city easily contains a hundred people way further up the scale than I am. Enough to have a local convention. If I had gone to the engineering university, then I would have been around people way, way beyond my level of nerd-dom. He thinks though, if I had gone, then it would have made me worse. Probably have to agree.

This all came about because he said they are more airplanes in the sea than submarines in the sky. I responded that is true in the real world, but not necessarily true in anime worlds. He was appalled that I could like anime. If only he knew “like” is probably an understatement.

Every Movie Geek Needs His Quotes

GeekDad published a list of top 100 Geek quotes. I happen to like movies and quotes. However, this list seems lame. None of my favorites even made the top ten.

  1. “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” Obiwan Kenobi, Star Wars. Of course, I got more attached to this quote when a coworker used this to perplex our boss. I’m sure there are days he regretted hiring so many twenty somethings.
  2. “Half of writing history is hiding the truth.” Mal, Serenity.
  3. “I’ve done far worse than kill you. I’ve hurt you. And I wish to go on… hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her. Marooned for all eternity, in the center of a dead planet… buried alive. Buried alive.” Khan Noonien Singh, ST:TWOK
  4. “I must not fear. / Fear is the mind-killer. / Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. / I will face my fear. / I will permit it to pass over me and through me. / And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. / Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. / Only I will remain.” – Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear, Dune
  5. “How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life, wouldn’t you say?” Captain James T. Kirk, ST:TWOK
  6. “Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda, SW:TESB. Yes, I have a teeshirt about this.
  7. “Raspberry. There’s only one man who would dare give me the raspberry: Lone Star!” Dark Helmet, Spaceballs.

What are your favorite movie quotes?

Why Read Books?

That I read books probably lowers my highly coveted geek cred. Instead, e-books read on the computer screen, phone screen, or e-book reader should have long ago replaced reading on dead wood. Unfortunately, I am intentionally avoiding reading books much on computers, phone, or readers.

  1. Why I need a purseNo purse to carry more stuff. I have big fingers, so I need stuff with big buttons. Things like iPhones are maddening to use because I cannot seem to hit the buttons correctly. Things with lots of big buttons tend to be big which makes them a pain to carry.

  2. Never underestimate my ability to break toys. Only the most resilient of electronic toys survive me. It isn’t uncommon for my laptops, phones, or cameras to experience 5 foot falls. Everything I carry with me ends up with marks from the abuse even books. Paper can take the abuse. I have no faith e-book readers could maintain their screens from being around me.
  3. Computers tend to tempt me to fail at multi-tasking. When I shut down my computer to go home, I typically have at the minimum a dozen windows. (Even the client I use to connect to my servers usually can fill that dozen.) Reading on a computer rarely will result in more than a page of reading every 10 minutes. Because blog posts are usually pretty short, distractions have less chance to interfere with reading them.
  4. Books are common enough people accept them as normal. Cool toys attract attention. I’d expect an expensive phone or e-reader or laptop to attract the kind of attention which results in theft. Books are cheap few would care to go to the effort.
  5. Phone are becoming more like computers. What I don’t want is a phone (or another device) which I treat like my computer, aka failing at multi-tasking. Just today I squared 1024 on paper instead of using the calculator on my phone. Having access to the Internet through my phone could be bad for keeping me on task.
  6. Why faux paper when you could use paper? The e-book readers market how much their technology looks like paper. Paper looks, feels, smells, and tastes like paper.
    🙂
  7. Spending money on a device to get to read seems counter-intuitive. The devices should be subsidized by the content. But that would mean Amazon $10 books would cost more like $20.

Typically I don’t change until I have a problem with what I am using. Books don’t cause me problems. So I am happy to continue to read books for the foreseeable future.

Strobist Meetup

Renee Back in July I mentioned Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk. A number of people from the Athens Flickr Meetups group showed for the August walk at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia (my photos). At both of these, the same individuals talked quite a bit about the newest toys Tim Rogan built and strobist techniques.

From what I gather strobist is about shifting camera flash from near the camera lens off to the side. Similar to golden hour sunlight, the light is more dramatic when not coming from near the camera. Also, camera flashes throw harsh light so soften the light by having it reflect off surfaces or go through translucent material.

Interest built about having a strobist meetup to shoot together and help each other. Steven Skelton, Tim, and Megan arranged a meetup last Saturday (group photo set). I was the only photographer walking into this totally cold without having at least read or watched any tutorials. So the quality of these pictures could better be a testament to the efficient teaching by Steven and Megan. At least it didn’t seem nearly as difficult as I expected.

LeannThis would also be the first photoshoot where I consistently used Manual rather than Shutter Priority.

This was also the first time I worked with models. (top right: Renee, right: Leann) The one wedding I shot taught me I really do have to direct people to get what I want while listening to get a feel for what they want. Megan sensed my hesitancy and worked through some ideas with the first few pictures then let me to go work on my own ideas. Models are people too. As a card carrying introvert, dealing with people normally exhausts me. This not so much.
🙂

This was a fun experience. I know I have things on which to work:

  • Putting together my own strobist setup.
  • Compose more carefully.
  • Find dramatic locations.
  • Become more social to approach people to photograph.

Perils of a Photoshoot The mechanics of photography are also entertaining. Call me a geek, but that there are so many values to track in photography fascinates me. Plus there are tons of toys. I’m not really a builder, so I probably will not be crafting custom flash grids or softboxes.

I knew I enjoyed watching the antics photographers go through to get the right shot. The antics a good model will go through to be in the right shot adds a whole new dimensions for me. For example, pictured right is Clinton easily a dozen feet off the ground so Megan can take a dramatic shot.

For about a year I’ve really slacked off using my camera. The wedding, photowalk meetups, and now strobist meetups put me back in the mode of thinking about what I should do next. That is a great thing.

P.S. Normal is about 100 views of my photos a day. Since I posted the photos Sunday, traffic has been 250+ views a day.

I’m blogging this.

Elizabeth For about eight months I have participated in a group called the Brunch Bunch here in Athens. We get together to eat and talk. Many conversations drift into the nerdy (my forté?). The locations vary so I have gotten to try new (to me) restaurants. Elizabeth (pictured right) vouched that I am a great guy. Well, these are great people.
🙂

Elizabeth also brought a friend of hers from out of town, Claudia. Claudia, smartly has a newer version of my Canon Rebel. I have the XT. She has the XSi (two models newer). The newest is the T1i.

Downtown Athens is a great place to shoot photos. So, we walked around for an hour or so looking in stores to get out of the heat. This is the hat Elizabeth bought from Helix who also had some cool stone candle holders. Native American Gallery had some interesting petroglyph jewelry and gray flower pottery. I’ve got some ideas for gifts to give for upcoming birthdays, holidays, etc.

One of the employees at Helix and Claudia both asked if I had a blog. I’m sure it was because of my shirt! I only admitted to this one and blogging about Blackboard. Though, I guess I have diversified somewhat here. I probably should blog more about local stuff as well. That would mean getting out more as well.

I'm blogging this.For years, I have been collecting teeshirts from thinkgeek.com. At present the collection consists of:

Some others are on my wishlist. I do have some shirts from other places. By far the most popular is the xkcd sudo comic. I’ve added a few others from xkcd to my wishlist as well.

Christmas Blog Post 2008

Last night I read Uncle Bill’s Christmas letter. He mailed it, but he apparently doesn’t have my postal address so I got the electronic version. Woohoo! His letter recaps the year for his family. Do any of you have such a tradition? Or a family member who does? Oddly my blog doesn’t provide much basis as it is devoid of personal information.

So here goes….

Family

Mom went off to Houston in January to consult with one of the best doctors in the country about a health issue. How things fell into place to allow her to get better amazed me daily. I got to grandparent sit for a week where I made Nannie tell stories so I could post them on Youtube. 😀

William married Nicole, his high school sweetheart. I finally have a sister. It rained on us briefly, so if you are into superstitions, that means either: 1) kids, 2) money, or 3) good luck.

I met Dad’s girlfriend, Sally, this year. She is definitely very nice. I’m happy with the match.

Friends

My only New Year’s Resolution for 2008 was to read 25 books this year. I completed that goal back in October. I’m thinking for 2008 to do a similar resolution. This time I’ll count up the number of pages and set a goal to read 20% more pages.

Some fellow Flickr users started an Athens Flickr Meetup. I’m hoping this is something to continue in 2009 as the weather improves. (Though who knew Georgia would be 20 degrees Farenheit above normal in December?)

RingsAdrianne and Britt asked me to be the photographer for their wedding. I spent hours looking at professional photographer portfolios for ideas about what I should capture. You see, while I do have a camera, I had never really taken photos at a wedding. Heck, few people invite me to weddings, so I was a little unclear what happens. In the end, I think it all turned out pretty well. Adrianne is happy. So I am happy. Working in computers became a profession because it was a hobby. Maybe photography will end up the same in the end? Posted 840 photos to Flickr this year. Started freelovephotography.com to show off my photography.

Las Vegas in July? Dumb. Star Trek: The Experience made my geeky heart soar.
NCC-1701-DNCC-1701-D @ ST: TXP

Causal Stupidity

Everything Bad Is Good for You
Image via Wikipedia

I remember as a kid, my parents restricting television and video game use because they would both make me stupid and violent. They worked too hard, so I had plenty unsupervised time to violate the rules. Plus no force would make me do homework.

The past half decade has seen a resurgence of blame on making kids dumber: the Internet. If I were a kid today, then certainly my parents would be trying to limit my time on it. Comics and radio were also accused of making kids dumb during my parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

What I don’t understand is… If we are becoming so dumb from the current media sources, then how is it possible we can invent new technology to make us even dumber? Perhaps Mark Bauerlein and Lee Drutman should read Everything Bad Is Good For You? (a review) Mike Wesch has an engaging video regarding how kids use these technologies called A Vision of Students Today.

These “dumb” kids know something as despite their involvement with media as they still significantly outperform their parents on IQ tests to the degree the grandparents would qualify for the “special class” taking the same tests. These gains are centered in our ability to create better expansive and interconnecting cognitive maps. I suggest What is Intelligence?: Beyond the Flynn Effect for more about this.

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ST:XP Shutting Down

Star Trek: The Experience is shutting down September First? Geeks don’t make the annual pilgrimage to pray at the alter of the captain’s chair. Maybe Vegas is too expensive. Between dropping hundreds monthly on movie tickets, DVDs, comics, and video games, spending three months rent to see ST:XP doesn’t have the right magic.

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Why One Should Not Connect With Egoists on Social Networks

“Second, if you add me as a friend I assume you want me to send you emails and interact with you.” — Plaxo: the social monster? – Scobleizer

Robert is the geek equivalent of Paris Hilton or Brittany Spears or Lindsey Lohan: A sad trainwreck we all thank a higher being that its not us. People don’t care what he has to say or endorse. They just want appear “cool” to their other geek friends. Because he does not know us, we don’t expect him to actually contact us.

The further a number of connections rises above 150 (Dunbar’s number), the more people listed who are not really a friend. At 5,000, he would require unheard of levels of emotional intelligence (I just don’t see it) to know them all well. Therefore, its clear the connections from Scoble’s perspective is to market to them (aka spam).

links for 2007-10-23