I am a geek
With this installment of Geek Speak, I should probably introduce myself, something I didn't do last time. I'm sure many of you saw my adorable mug in Tempo last week and wondered who I was. Others probably pondered why they should care about what I have to say. Others perhaps tried to figure out how to take my lunch money.
Rest assured, all of your questions will be answered, or at least the ones I want to answer.
I came to Southern Oregon from Tacoma, Wash., five years ago to study at SOU. I had delusions of grandeur that I would study music business and use my knowledge to be a successful heavy-metal musician. Then I learned that knowing how the business works does not necessarily mean the business will work for you, so I changed my mind (as 18-year-olds are wont to do).
After a brief stint in the land of the undeclared major, I discovered journalism and decided that was what I wanted to do.
Becoming a journalist was the perfect path for me. I originally picked it with plans to go into radio. Then I realized being an entertainment journalist was an option.
"Wait, I can talk to musicians or filmmakers, ask all the questions I want, and all I need to do is write down their answers and people will pay me for it?!"
Journalism is, honestly, a career meant for geeks.
Before SOU, I wouldn't have considered myself a geek. In high school, geek was a derogatory term. Many people still feel that way about the term and its sister label, nerd. I still hear the skepticism in my parents' voices when I refer to myself as a geek or a nerd, as if they want to say, "Why would you put yourself down like that?" — but still want to remain supportive of me.
I call myself these things — usually geek because it sounds more fun — because of the understanding I have gained of the terms' meanings. Geeks and nerds like their "thing" at a different level than most people. They want to understand every molecule of the thing they like, seeking specific nuggets of information they can throw out at a party when no one really asked. When someone calls you a nerd, or you call yourself a geek, it just means that you really like something.
Being a geek is not the put down it once was. Geeks have permeated the main stream with shows like "The Big Bang Theory" or "King of the Nerds." Being a geek is cool now.
Because of that definition, there can be many types of geeks. Even sports fans can be geeks. Think about it. You're getting your fantasy teams lined up, needing to know about every player injury or statistic so you can field the best team. It's your version of Dungeons & Dragons.
I used to be a big music geek, mainly about guitar (which I tried to play with little success). I wanted to know everything about guitars. I researched what wood types would create what sounds and the effects my favorite guitarists used to create the tones I was hearing in the songs. This is what I was all about in high school. I never used the information for anything. I didn't build a guitar, and my effects pedal collection peaked at two, but I clung to that useless information, knowing that one day, it would mean somthing. Then I got to college and learned what I should have already known: Movies and comic books are really cool!
My geek ship sailed under a new flag. Visual pop culture media became what gets me really excited, and I scare people into a corner when I start talking about it. I started spending way too much money on comics, behind-the-scenes books and Blu-rays (because that's pretty much the only way to see cool bonus features anymore). When you're a geek about something, there is no "enough."
The gathering of this seemingly useless information now has meaning because I have found a career path where my knowledge can actually be put to use.
In this column, I hope to create a place where geeks in the Rogue Valley can come and read about the stuff I "geek out" about — and hopefully what they geek out about, as well. While I want to look at geeky things that exist on a national or global scale, I also want to highlight things happening in the Rogue Valley. I want to shine a light on the filmmakers, artists and musicians embracing the life of the geek here in Southern Oregon. I also want to get this out of my system a bit so I stop annoying or scaring people at parties.
Now, I don't claim to be the ultimate authority on geeky things in or out of the Rogue Valley, so here's what you, the reader, can do to help me. Are you writing a comic book? Are you making a movie? Did you just write a song about the numerical value of Pi? Maybe you just want to geek out about the latest Hobbit movie. Let me know about it by emailing me at email@example.com.
I want to hear about these geek endeavors whether I write about them or not. Hopefully we, as the Rogue Valley geek community, can create something great, and I can take all the credit for it.
I want this column to be fun, not dry. I'll do my best not to become side-tracked with technical jargon and industry terms so that, maybe, I can turn some of you on to the things I think are cool.
Perhaps my delusions of granduer haven't gone away, maybe they just switched their focus somewhere else, to a flatter stage.
As for my lunch money, I bring a sack lunch. Check and mate.
Ian Hand is assistant editor for Tempo and an enormous geek. Follow him on Twitter @IanHand_MT