On Geekdom

I normally don’t pay much heed to vanity “holidays”, unless it’s something funny like International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19), something yummy like National Cheesecake Day (July 30), or something ridiculous like World Beard Day (this year it’s on September 1). (Don’t get me wrong, I love beards and I tend to find bearded men to be incredibly attractive, but color me surprised to find that they get their own recognized day of appreciation.) And for those of you wondering if we knitters get our own day, yes we do: Worldwide Knit in Public Day is scheduled for Saturday, June 9, and you can learn all about it right here. But it was another one of these “holidays” that has actually inspired today’s post, and it celebrates something that is close to my heart. Today is Geek Pride Day, a day intended to celebrate every aspect of geek culture. (It also happens to be Towel Day, which celebrates the life and work of Douglas Adams, the author and creator of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series and fandom, which itself can be included within the celebrations of Geek Pride Day.)

These days, I am pretty proud and accepting of my identity as a geek, but it took me a long time to get to this place. I should’ve known I was a geek in the making when I was 8 and wrote a brief little “article” for my school’s newspaper all about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World…but I didn’t. I should’ve known I was a geek in the making when I was a kid and I always seemed to have my nose in a book before I even started preschool…but I didn’t. I should’ve known I was a geek in the making when I tested for and got into a rigorous academic program at my high school…but I didn’t. Not when people called me “The Walking Encyclopedia” in late elementary school because I could spout knowledge off the top of my head, or when I’d consistently get high scores and top percentiles in reading on various standardized tests, or when I became obsessed with a New Zealand TV series that was essentially a post-apocalyptic teenage sci-fi soap opera called The Tribe in my early years of high school…it was essentially my first niche fandom. (Episodes of that show are now available on both YouTube and Vimeo, if you’re interested in watching or can afford to watch it in HD on Vimeo.) Those years I remember struggling to desperately try and fit in with the more popular kids, a crowd that I now realize would’ve never been the most accepting of me in their circle in the first place (although a handful of those kids did actually show kindness to me in high school). For the longest time, I was a geek in denial. I honestly didn’t begin to appreciate the geekiness that I had already possessed until The Lady Bryan came into my life. As we became friends, I was finally able to reconcile my dalliances with anime (which I never became hugely obsessed with, but I did have some Sailor Moon and Yu Yu Hakusho mixed in with my Pokémon as I was growing up), the occasional sci-fi, and Monty Python with my overall personality: one who enjoys making her own mental database of popular music of everything from doo-wop to heavy metal, who can play along with Jeopardy! with confidence, who can enjoy debating aspects of Harry Potter with friends and/or former rivals or even random people on Tumblr, and who reads whatever she wants and doesn’t care who notices. My love for knitting came about a little later, just after high school, but even then as my skills improved, I was able to develop my own database of knowledge from experience that I now use to try and pass on to others who are either insecure about their skills or are looking to improve. In her book Knitting Rules, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee talks about different kinds of knitters as sort of characters, but I like to think of myself as a combination of two of them: the Knitting Missionary and the Knitting Sensei, both a (secular, knitting-related) preacher and a teacher. I tend to approach the spread of knowledge like I approach cooking, I don’t believe in “secret recipes”…I believe knowledge (or recipes or patterns) should be made readily available to others. Knowledge is not something only meant for the wealthy, privileged, or employed…it belongs to everybody. That is one element of geekdom that I love: that we’re willing to talk endlessly about the things that interest us and share our knowledge and fandoms with others.

What else is geekdom about? Geekdom is not defined by one fandom or activity or pastime. Not every geek is into Star Wars or Star Trek…or even sci-fi, for that matter! (Count myself among that third option, although I do enjoy watching the Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy movies. 😄) Not all geeks are into LARPing (Live-Action Role Playing) or cosplay. Not all geeks write fanfics (although The Lady Bryan is bloody brilliant at it). Not all geeks play tabletop games (but the actor Wil Wheaton is more than willing to talk about it). Not all geeks watch anime (which my dearest friend Manda-Panda 🐼 does and is willing to tweet all about it). Some geeks watch wrestling (that, I do share with Manda-Panda) and are ready to debate and wax poetical about favorite wrestlers and storylines or are willing to drop a (as former WWE Champion CM Punk would put it) a “pipe bomb” or “truth bomb” of an unpopular opinion. Some geeks follow their favorite shows closely and fill notebooks with information and opinions (as I used to do with Fox’s original run of American Idol and I now do with the songs that are entered into the annual Eurovision Song Contest). Some geeks are ready and willing to debate everything from the Marvel movies to current politics (although the latter I only debate on individuals’ posts as most of the Internet’s Comments Section has turned into the Tenth Circle of Hell of which all dignity has been stripped, and where the words “intelligent conversation” are a curse). And some geeks yell out responses to Jeopardy! clues with such fervor that had people like me been around back then, Dorothy Zbornak would’ve actually stood a chance of making it onto the show itself (as seen in the Golden Girls episode “Questions and Answers”). Some geeks turn their constant talking of their passions into a career (like comedian and TV personality Chris Hardwick, who I like to think of as my celebrity spirit animal). And some geeks will even find a way to work a Golden Girls plotline into a normal, everyday conversation 😌. Geekdom is simply possessing great knowledge and passion for the things we care about in life. And we usually have fun doing all these things.

Side note: there is currently a convention going on in Orlando called Mega-Con (much in the style of San Diego Comic-Con or Atlanta’s Dragon-Con). I have never been to one of these kinds of conventions, but be assured it is on my bucket list.

As for the post that inspired this one, which you can find here at The Tony Burgess Blog, Tony mentions a little bit of biblical wordplay and proclaims that “The geek shall inherit the Earth.” This actually made me think of a band from Germany that did a whole song around that phrase many years ago. They are no longer together, but a little pop rock band called Wir sind Helden (which is German for “We Are Heroes”) made a song called “The Geek (Shall Inherit)”, which is mostly in German but contains a few English phrases. It’s basically a song of encouragement for those who’ve been teased for their geekiness, letting them know that they can basically go on to great things, “inherit the earth”. Here is the chorus, first in its original German and then translated into English:

Die Verletzten sollen die Ärzte sein

Die Letzten sollen die Ersten sein

Sieh es ein: the meek shall inherit the earth

Die Verletzten sollen die Ärzte sein

Die Letzten sollen die Ersten sein

Die Ersten sehen als Letzte ein

The geek shall inherit the earth

The injured shall be the doctors

The last will be the first

See it: the meek shall inherit the earth

The injured shall be the doctors

The last will be the first

The first ones will be the last ones

The geek shall inherit the earth

I think, given today, that this song is a little extra special. You can listen to it as is, or you can google around for a translation of the lyrics, but either way, I am choosing to close my post today with “The Geek (Shall Inherit)” by Wir sind Helden. Happy Geek Pride Day to all you geeks out there! You are all beautiful souls and don’t stop being you!

Motivation Lost and Found

So, you may not have seen much yarn work on here lately, and I do actually have a few good reasons:

  1. I haven’t been able to get to my local Walmart Supercenter lately to get more yarn, as I’ve been doing most of my grocery shopping at another Walmart, a smaller Neighborhood Market, which obviously doesn’t carry yarn. Even on a grocery trip, when I go to the Supercenter, I can usually pick up one or two skeins of Super Saver without breaking my grocery budget (and sometimes the occasional cake of Lion Brand Mandala).
  2. I mentioned previously that I was dealing with pain in my lower back that took quite a bit of wind out of my sails. To remind you what was going on, in late February I developed excruciating pain in my left lower back after, of all things, unclogging a toilet. The first couple of days I could only walk at a snail’s pace and bending over was next to impossible. My walking speed returned to normal after a couple of days, but the pain itself remained at somewhat the same intensity for about two weeks until it finally shrunk down to just a small knot of pain in my left lower back (not enough to mess with me, but just enough to let me know it was there). I had a couple of days where I had spasms in my lower right back, but they went away relatively quickly. Sleeping in my parents’ bed did not help much to alleviate the pain (it’s an old bed, and I sleep in it on nights when my dad works so that my mom has someone there to alleviate nighttime anxiety associated with her condition). It wasn’t until my dad took a preplanned week off from work at the beginning of April that my pain was finally able to completely go away. During that week, I remember thinking: Hmm…my back doesn’t hurt anymore. Okay! I have no clue what actually caused it in the first place, and I have no clue if my weight was related to it. It took about a month and a half for the pain to go away, but it finally did.
  3. Finally, I just had a general lack of motivation when it came to yarn stuff. My patchwork blanket isn’t gonna go anywhere project-wise until I can get more yarn. But I still had plenty of yarn left over from La vie en rose et violet to try and start something. So late last month, I picked up one of the partial skeins and my size 10 1/2 needles and decided to cast on a few stitches to see if I could stick with a throw knit on the bias, each partial skein’s section separated by a stripe of white. I am currently on my third color (not including the white), and this is what it looks like so far.

It’s a little bit crooked because of the stitches being bunched up on the needle. I have maybe a foot and a half of edging here (doing 2 increases per right side row and knitting the wrong side rows straight), and I have not started shaping the third side or top yet, as that will depend on how many stitches I can fit on this needle. Using size 8 or 9 needles, I could fit around 350-400 stitches on a circular needle this length, so it’s really a case of increasing until I get to the size I want along the edge, or if I run out of room on the needle, with a decent length edge I could probably still make a rectangular throw to fit over an armchair if I wanted. I’m kinda flying by the seat of my pants on this one!

The project doesn’t have an official name yet (because I believe every work of art, even if it’s yarn art, should have a title), but I am thinking of calling this one Rock Me On the Bias because when I posted the first picture of this to Instagram last month, I couldn’t help but sing “on the bias” to the tune of “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco. (Those who know me well know of my love of ’70s and ’80s music, and that song was one of the few Neue Deutsche Welle/German New Wave songs to become a hit here in the ’80s, along with the likes of “99 Luftballons” by Nena, “Da Da Da” by Trio, and “Oh Yeah” by Yello.) Do you think that’s a fitting title for this project?

Finally, I am almost finished reading Fahrenheit 451 and have just a handful of pages left to read (well, of the actual novel; my edition has at least 100 extra pages of supplemental material, some of it written by Ray Bradbury himself, which I may read through at a later time), which I hope to finish either tonight or tomorrow. It took me a little time (and some help from some of the ladies over on Ravelry) to figure out which book I’ll be reading next. And I’ve decided to step away from dystopian fiction for a little bit and go in a completely different direction. The next book I am taking on is: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway! I barely remember reading The Old Man and the Sea in high school, so I consider this my first serious attempt at reading Hemingway. I don’t know whether this will turn me on to more Hemingway or push me away from him permanently. Anyone who has read his work, feel free to give me your thoughts on him in the comments! I may also write a bit on my experience reading Fahrenheit 451 here soon if the inspiration strikes me.

And of course…here’s the song. Until next time, and cross your fingers in the hopes this project will stick!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

So, for the last month or so I’ve been hiding a bit of news because I didn’t want to reveal it too early and then have it go south. But, as of this week it is now a sure thing so I can talk about it now.

You readers may remember that my brother got married last October and that he and his wife have a daughter together, who will be turning 2 next month. For the last couple of years, they have lived together in a unit of a duplex just off the main highway that runs through our hometown. They’ve been married about 6 months now, and they’ve been house hunting.

Well, this week they’ve finally closed on a house and are now officially homeowners. It has three bedrooms and two full bathrooms, an enclosed front porch and an enclosed back porch as well as a detached garage in the backyard that will almost certainly end up becoming my brother’s workshop/”man cave”. The house itself, though, does need some interior work done to fit their style: as I summed it up to my sister-in-law yesterday while she and my dad were working on the living room (he was painting the ceiling to cover up the tobacco stains from the previous owners, while she was patching nail holes in the wall with spackle and applying the first coat of primer to the walls), she is “rustic” while he (my brother) is “redneck”. They plan on pulling out all of the carpeting and the tile in the living room and their daughter’s room and replacing all of it with hardwood flooring (leaving the kitchen and main bathroom tiled). The walls will likely be painted a tan color with dark brown as an accent color and adding wood trim along the baseboards and the area that delineates the kitchen from the living room. There is a chandelier in the dining area that will be replaced with something more modern. Their new house is in a bit of disarray right now, but I honestly can’t wait to see what it looks like when they’ve finally finished the interior work on it…and my sister-in-law can’t wait to start decorating it.

They officially moved out of their old unit yesterday, but it will certainly be a busy time before they finally move in. Life certainly has been moving at a busy pace in my family lately.