Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Super Nerd

For the most part, people have a Freak Flag they like to periodically let fly, but not so much for me. This is not to say that I do not occasionally hoist my strange pennant. Instead, I secretly carry a different streamer—of a different call sign—which sees more daylight than its counterpart. When I find the circumstance to let this bad boy take to the air, I love that feeling, of remembering how much I love letting this specific banderole see daylight.

It is my Nerd Flag and I love it dearly.

For those of you keeping score at home, so far this HITS column has used four synonyms for the word “flag”. Plus two points if you knew this before getting to the italicized portion of this column. Plus one point if you noticed at least one different use.

Being a nerd is tricky thing, which is weird statement to make because it implies that being a nerd is desirable or something that one would try to accomplish. Well, kind of. It is and it is not. Just roll with me for a second.

“There are dinner jackets and then there are dinner jackets.”
Movie quote. Difficulty: Semi-easy. One point for knowing the correct answer. Score ½ point for Googling it.

Like dinner jackets, there are nerds and then there are nerds. The first kind of nerd mentioned, is the type that waits excitedly for new technology; such as a new phone model or particular type of HDTV. These are your socially acceptable nerds. Phone and TV tech is cool, and even if it is not, at the very least it is not un-cool. If you tell someone that you are waiting for Fall because Apple is putting out their new iPad 3, no one is going to look at you and say, “Wow. You’re kind of a loser.” But if this were 1997 and you owned a Macintosh 8600 and told that same person you could not wait until the Fall to buy the new Power Mac G3, they would look at you and say, “Wow. You are kind of a loser.” Ten years later this is no longer a faux pas.

You can argue the same thing for movies and video games. This summer we have a full knapsack of comic book movies set to release or are currently running in theaters across the country. Comic book movies are cool. Comic books… not so much, but we are getting there. More and more comic book readers are coming out of the comic book closet and it is becoming acceptable say so. With all of these comic book movies, one now has some sort of socially acceptable platform to broadcast that they did or currently read/buy comics. Feel free to emerge people! No longer must you lurk in the darkness of society. That brightness outside is socially acceptable sunlight. You can gain power from it… like Superman.

Plus one point if you knew Superman got his strength from the sun.

Perhaps that is how you can spot the difference between the dinner jackets. With the one dinner jacket you see it and do not really notice the difference between the person wearing it and large majority of others wearing one just like it. It blends. There is no hoisting of the colors to proclaim, “Look at me being nerdy,” because, you are not being nerdy; hence there is no emblem to show off. Buying Transformers: Dark of the Moon movie tickets on your brand new EVO 3D cell phone is awesome. Telling your guild in World of Warcraft that you won a Commander deck in a Magic: The Gathering release party raffle is not.

“Hey you guys!”
Movie quote number two. Minus two points if you do not know this movie. Minus 1 and ½ points if you would have known the movie quote, if it were type Heeeeeyyyy yoooouuuu guuuuuuuuyyyysss!

Hey, you guys, when Tron released in 1982 and you were found openly liking it… that equaled: dork. Now its 2011 and you tell who ever you want that you liked Tron: Legacy. It is OK to be found saying something like this in public. Of course you liked it: Olivia Wilde is hot. Heck, even if you tell someone you went back and watched the original Tron and liked it—or liked it from day one—it makes you even cooler because in some weird kind of way you knew Olivia Wilde would some day be smoking hot in a newer, updated version of Tron.

Plus three points if you knew Olivia Wilde was hot. Plus an additional two if you knew this because you watched The OC back in the day. Minus three points if you continued to watch after Season Two. Plus one point if you thought it was totes sketch that Alex dated both Marrisa AND Seth. Minus ten points if you wrote a HITS column with OC gossip in 2011 and using the word “totes”.

I never played the arcade game of Tron. I did however play The Goonies II for NES. It left me wanting. But video games bring up an interesting point. Are they nerdy? Video games are a bit different. In one of respect, video games are attracting more and more female gamers. Just the presence of females in the gaming community is erasing or masking the virgin-male-dork perception that video game players once held. Also, there are celebrity-endorsed games and, if I learned anything in my life, it is that celebrities can do NO wrong or that the things that they do are the things that I ought to do... or is that the other way around? Anyhow, I know Black Ops is awesome because I have seen a commercial of Kobe Bryant and Jimmy Kimmel playing in it. Halo and all of its variants meet the same awesome criteria. So far video games come off as cool.

Step over to games like Final Fantasy and you start to tread in to un-cool nerd land (even though the Final Fantasy series has had some of the most beautiful soundtracks and storylines ever). Move over to computer gaming and you are pretty much in the capital of un-cool. Games like Wizards of Newarth and World of Warcraft. Super geeky, but also super fun. I know this from first hand experience. Remember I said I own and love my nerd flag.

“Allow me to introduce myself. My name is August Christopher. I was named for St. Augustan, who coined my favorite phrase, 'Give me chastity and give me constancy, but do not give it yet.'”
Movie quote number three. Difficulty: moderate. One point for knowing it. Two points if you can say it using the correct accent. Three points if you think it is a bit early and want to go get some coffee or something.

I like this quote here because it references a movie about someone who is often pretending to be someone that he is not; all while fighting who he truly is and who he truly wants to be. With our nerd gonfalon we are very similar to this movie character. Except for the part about being chased by bad guys in Russia. That last part is not likely and not the point.

Plus two hundred bonus points if you are being chased by bad guys in Russia, in real life.

You might even be a nerd—like a nerd nerd—and not even realize it. The HITS think tank has developed a full-proof test to determine if you carry any unrealized nerd genes. This could be a life-altering column for some of you. Get out now if you would rather live in blindness. It is a three-question survey and is never wrong. Good luck.

1) Do you have a natural affinity for Hot Pockets?
2) Do you love baseball?
3) Have you kept score while reading this column?

If you answered ‘yes’ to two or more the questions, then I hate to break it to you, but you could be human normalimmuno virus (HNV) positive. Loving Hot Pockets is an early symptom sign that your body has the nerdy-nerd gene. Hot Pockets are thee nerdy food staple. The lifeblood if you will of geeks everywhere, especially hard-core gamers. If you looked at the food triangle of these hard-core gamers, at the very bottom it would be a steady diet of pwn’n noobs, complimented by the consumption of delicious Hot Pockets, then regular intervals of Mountain Dew ingestion at the next level, and topped off some kind of candy. Trust me, the Hot Pocket theory is no joke. If you think you like their chicken melt with bacon now, try one of those babies right after gaming for three straight hours. You will feel like your life is in perfect harmony.

If you love baseball, well, you are a lot nerdier than you want to admit. Baseball is the place statisticians go if they lived a good, moral life and then died. Statistics are everywhere and if you love baseball, like really love love love it, then you clearly love the many stats associated with such a great game.

You have: at bats, hits, runs, bunts, runs batted in, base on balls, strike outs, stolen bases, caught stealing, doubles, triples, home runs, batting average, on base percentage, slugging percent, on-base plus slugging percentage, runs created, runs created per 27 outs, isolated power, secondary average, ground balls, fly balls, ground ball to fly ball ratio, walks per hit ratio, total bases, total plate appearances, pitches per plate appearance, sacrifice flys, sacrifice bunts, grounding in to doubles play ratio… I could keep going. These are all real stats tracked by Major League Baseball and just for hitting. This does not include pitching stats, or position stats. It goes on for days and if you love it, it is because of your nerdy-nerd gene.

Plus 1.000 percent if you know who the first baseman is that currently has a perfect fielding percent at the publishing of this column.

And the third question. If you wrote a column about being a geek and in it, made up a geeky game with a geeky scoring system, than you are geek. If you kept score to this geeky game, then… yeah. You already know.

“Alrighty then!”
Movie quote number four. Difficulty: super easy. No points for knowing the correct answer. No points lost for not knowing; rather, you get a slow disappointing headshake from me instead.

Alrighty then, why the nerd column? Probably because I needed some sort of outlet to let the world know how big of a dweeb I really am, and also because the other day I was trying to shake out, how a dork, such as myself, could like all sports as much as I do. I realized that if I could only choose one sport to follow for the rest of my life that it would be baseball. Then I came to the conclusion, after wondering why I would choose baseball, that I loved the rich information that can be found when you really dive in to the sport. Finally, I realized that loving so much data is nerdy. It was a break through and helped me tie two parts of life together, which I had always viewed as beingn so polar.

When you really sit down and break it down, how do you think fantasy sports started? Think about it. Some uber nerd invented it. They have made all of the other sports NBA, NFL, and NHL so much better to watch. Sports are fun. Sports are better when you make them nerdy, but with sports, you get that its-OK-to-be-nerdy-now pass.

The landscape is changing, that is for sure. I watched the World Championship of Scrabble on ESPN3 the other day. You never know what will be next. Perhaps ten years from now it will be weird if you are not nerdy and people will throw out insults that sound like, “Ugh. You’re so normal Walter. Could you be anymore boring?” Until then however, I am going to let my nerd succumb flow like the stars and stripes on the presidential limo.

Plus one ‘Buddy Christ’ thumbs up if you scored a perfect 100% on all trivia. Plus another ‘Buddy Christ’ thumbs up if you Googled what a ‘Buddy Christ’ thumbs up was and found out it was another movie reference.

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