Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On Being a Nerd/Geek

So, according to Facebook, today is Geek/Nerd Pride Day. (From this point on, I will use the terms "geek" and "nerd" interchangeably.) You could say I've always been a nerd, even from the time I was a little kid. While most 5-year-old boys liked playing outside, there was nowhere else I wanted to be than in front of that old Commodore 64. We don't need to go into what caused me to be a nerd from that age, especially since most of my Facebook friends have heard about it a million times. I'll talk about what being a geek means and doesn't mean to me, how not everyone with A.S. should be considered a nerd, and how I'm different from some other geeks you might know.
First off: What does being a geek mean to me? Well, for one, it means showing interest in things that are somewhat abnormal. In a previous post, I asked you to think about the things the guys in your life liked. Well, now, I'm going to ask you to think about what the 22-year-old guys and girls in your life, whether that includes you or not, like. In most cases, you'd probably say things like some form of sports, computer/video games, R-rated films, current prime-time network television, etc. Well, guess what? I really am not a fan of any of those things. I'm not saying that being a fan of those things, no matter what age you are, makes you a bad person. What I am saying is that most 22-year-olds, at least in my experience, aren't really fans of Star Trek, music/shows/etc. from the 70's and 80's, Disney/Nickelodeon sitcoms/movies, and the like...but I'm a fan of all those things. I'm not ashamed of any of that; in fact, if I'm the only person my age who likes that stuff, I'm proud of it.
Now, you may be asking: What does it not mean to me? First off, spending a lot of time in front of a computer does not make you a nerd. In the past, it would have, but, nowadays, with the addictiveness of sites like Facebook, it seems like people everywhere are spending more time on their computers than they used to. Also, being smart, even ridiculously smart, does not necessarily make you a nerd. If you had one of the highest GPAs in your graduating class, or if you were in a bunch of Honors, AP, or IB classes, that doesn't make you a geek. Don't get me wrong; if your grades were that high, you were definitely smart. Still, I know a good part of the people who were at the top of my graduating class, and I definitely would not call them nerds. A good part of them were involved in sports, which, IMO, disqualifies them from being geeks right there. My lack of interest in sports is one of the things that makes me a geek. Being a nerd isn't just about your intelligence; it's also about your interests.
On to my second point: Why shouldn't everyone with A.S. be considered a nerd? I'll admit that my A.S. gives me somewhat geeky tendencies, but my upbringing is also part of that as well. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: It is not an autistic thing to like sci-fi/fantasy, dislike sports, or like/dislike any of the other stuff I do. In fact, I have heard of cases where people with A.S. loved sports, hated Disney, etc. I don't need to go into the details, but I will say this: If my life situation had been different when I was younger, I might very well be a sports freak today. (Note that, by using the term "freak," I am not insulting anyone. The term "freak" means a lot of things, and one definition is "ardent enthusiast." You may be a "sports freak," but I'll readily admit that I am a yard/garage sale freak. Look it up if you don't believe me.) A.S. doesn't affect what you're into; it just affects how much you're into it. On to something else.
My final point: How am I different from other geeks you might know? Put simply: My tastes are not completely different from popular opinion. I mentioned before that I like music from decades past, and, yes, I do have a lot of it on my iPod. However, I also have plenty of popular songs from the past decade on there as well. I have songs such as "Cupid's Chokehold/Breakfast in America" by Gym Class Heroes, "Somebody Told Me" by the Killers, "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles, "Smooth Criminal" by Alien Ant Farm, "Stacy's Mom" by Fountains of Wayne, "Then the Morning Comes" by Smash Mouth, and plenty of other hits from the 2000's, alongside older songs. Also, some of the things that people would think all geeks like, I don't. For example, I hate Lord of the Rings. I couldn't even understand the first book, and the first movie was drawn-out and boring. I am not really a fan of computer/video games, either. I'll admit I used to be a big fan of them, especially Nintendo games like Super Smash Bros. Melee, but I sold all of them years ago, and I don't have a single game installed on my laptop, other than the ones that came with it, which I don't play. When I'm on a computer, I'm usually blogging, chatting with friends, etc.
In closing, I will say this: I realize that I may be different from anyone else you know. I'll admit it; I'm unique. Still, that doesn't make me any less of a person than you are. I deserve to be loved, respected, and to have friends, even if they don't have the exact same interests. My friends will tell you: If you don't want to be my friend because I'm different, then you are missing out. I admit I've lost some friends because of mistakes I've made, but, as one of my favorite people in the whole wide world once said to me, "A lapse in judgment does not define you." We all make mistakes, and I'm no closer to perfect than anyone else you know. You can accept me for who I am, or you can shun me and refuse to be my friend. The choice is yours.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

On Reviews and Die-Hard Fans

I don't know about you, but I have read tons of reviews online. I've read people's moral critiques of movies, noting all the profanity, sex, violence, etc., in them. I've also read people's opinions of things, such as albums, films, TV shows, video games, and the like, that were just based on an artistic perspective. One of the things that I've seen mentioned in all kinds of reviews is a statement to the effect of, "You'll only like this if you're a die-hard _________ fan." An example of that would be a review of a Super NES Power Rangers video game that was titled, "Unless you're a Power Rangers fan, if not...!" Usually, when people say, "Unless you're a fan," they really mean, "Unless you're a die-hard fan."
Honestly, when it comes to media, I wouldn't call myself "a die-hard fan" of anything or anyone. Granted, I do have some shows, movie series, book series, bands/artists, actors/actresses, etc., that I like, but it's not like I'm going to like absolutely anything from them. In the past, though, it was a different story.
I'm about to talk about one of my previous addictions again, so be warned: Way back in the late 90's/early 2000's, I was a huge fan of Scooby-Doo. I wanted pretty much anything that had the Scooby-Doo label on it: shirts, videos, albums, books, calendars, posters, and plenty of other stuff. Around that time, some friends of mine told me that a somewhat close theme park--I won't name what it was, because I don't want to give out my geographical location--that had a store with Scooby-Doo shirts, and maybe other memorabilia (it was so long ago, I don't remember.) As soon as I heard that, I would not shut up about wanting to go to that theme park. It wasn't the rides; it wasn't the food; it wasn't the shows; it was just that store. Some years later, when I was either in middle or high school, well after I gave up on that cartoon, some group I was involved in--don't remember what it was--invited me to go to that theme park, and I told my mom I didn't want to go. She was shocked, saying, "Why don't you want to go? You used to be obsessed with wanting to go there!" She didn't know that it was only because of one thing they had there: that Scooby-Doo store.
It wasn't just that theme park, either. There was a song recorded by CCM artist Chris Rice called "Cartoons" or something like that. It went something like, "I was thinking the other day/What if cartoons got saved?/They'd start singing praise/In a whole new way!" and then Rice proceeds to imitate various cartoon characters (from Fred Flintstone to Elmer Fudd) saying their own version of the word hallelujah, i.e., "Yabba-dabba-doo-jah!" When I first heard it all the way back in 2000, I loved it only because it mentioned Scooby-Doo. Truth be told, I didn't even really know what the song was about when I first heard it! My original understanding of the lyrics was, "I was thinking the other day/What about cartoons?/Scooby-Dooby-Doo-jah!" In fact, I currently think that, if taken literally, the song is stupid! Most fans of the song don't know that Rice actually meant it as a satire of Christian entertainment companies making Christian copies of popular secular media. I think that's a message that needs to be taken to heart, because, even though that song was released over a decade ago, there have still been blatant Christian rip-offs of secular stuff, like Sunday School Musical, ApologetiX's parodies, etc., in the past few years.
I got a little off-topic there, so let me get back to my main point: There are things everywhere that people could say one would only like it if he/she was a die-hard fan of something. You might think that, based on my posts on here and Facebook, that I am a die-hard Sha-bon-bon (that is, fan of Siobhan Magnus.) Well, I've got news for you: If you think I have it bad for Siobhan, you should have seen how bad my addictions to things like The Magic School Bus, Growing Pains, Mork & Mindy, Garfield, Hilary Duff, Putt-Putt the talking car, and other things were when I was younger. You'd know then that my love for all things Siobhan Magnus isn't that bad after all.
Any comments?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Return Today

To the tune of "Tell Me On a Sunday" by Andrew Lloyd Webber

This world's so evil, I just want to leave.
Thought many people were friends, then they really were not.
And on the tube, nothing but bad news.
I would love to just walk those golden streets.
Jesus, return today, please.
They think I'm crazy, won't give me a chance.
Ugly insults, dirty looks.
Such brief conversations.
While my friends marry, I've been on no dates.
Come when I'm shelving at the library.
Jesus, return today, please.
Yes, I do know who's to blame, and where he is going.
You could come any day or night, but, when, You're not telling.
Those who have defied You, You'll destroy them all.
Well, I can't take this anymore, so why don't You just end it?
So much of my life just make me want to cry!
So, to You, I sing this desperate plea:
Jesus, return today, please.
When I turn out my bedroom light, I always feel lonely.
So many liars tell no truth at all.
Every girl just slams the door when I think of dating.
Oh, how much I want to say goodbye.
I'll happily leave all earthly things.
I'll forget about all my addictions.
I'll go to the best place there's ever been.
Take me to the place where I will be free.
Jesus, return today, please.