Nerd vs. Geek

This question haunted me many a night as I contemplated starting this blog: What’s the difference between a Nerd and a Geek?

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You see, I am a writer. Words are my life. And I didn’t want to choose the (gasp!) wrong word to describe my husband.

Not to mention that in the company of Nerds and Geeks, you better use the correct term or you’ll be flogged.

So, what is a Nerd? According to Merriam Webster.com a Nerd is “an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially : one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits.”

Eek. I don’t like that definition. I am insanely attracted to my husband, although he *is* a little unstylish and socially awkward. So I’ll give them that. But the thing to note here is that a Nerd is “slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits.”

Basically, a Nerd is a super-smart individual who is socially awkward and pursues hobbies and interests that are often socially unaccepted.

And, according to Merriam Webster.com, a Geek is “an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity.”

So, a Geek just pursues those hobbies and interests that are often socially unaccepted. They don’t necessarily have the higher intellect of a Nerd.

Now, I mean no disrespect to the Geeks of the Universe, but there *is* a difference between the two. Imagine that pasty white 25-year-old who still lives in his mom’s basement, doesn’t have a job and plays WoW day and night. That’s a Geek.

Now imagine a pasty white 25-year-old who owns a home, works as a Mechanical Engineer and occasionally plays Halo 3. That’s a Nerd.

And here’s what the Nerds over at Urban Dictionary.com think of themselves: “An ‘individual’, i.e. a person who does not conform to society’s beliefs that all people should follow trends and do what their peers do. Often highly intelligent but socially rejected because of their obsession with a given subject, usually computers. Unfortunately, nerds seem to have problems breeding, to the detriment of mankind as a whole.”

So, if you (or your man) have the brains to back your interest in all things Nerdy, you are fit to wear the title.

I’m proud to call my man a Nerd! :)

Nerdy Things Thursday: First-Person Shooters

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Welcome to another Nerdy Things Thursday here on The Nerd’s Wife. Last week, I asked for suggestions from my Facebook friends for topics to cover in this little column ‘o mine. Boy did we get some good ones!

This week, we’re going to talk about something that my friend Sommer suggested: Video Games. Now, I’m going to break this up into a two-part series. Because here in our household, video games are what it’s all about.

So, this week we’re going to talk about First-Person Shooter videogames. Next week, we’ll cover RPGs (no, not rocket-propelled grenades, but Role Playing Games).

I’m only going to talk about those two categories for now, because those are what The Nerd likes to play. And this blog is about him (us!).

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First-Person Shooter games utilize a unique perspective for the player — YOU hold the gun, YOU control the turns. The screen looks just like if you were standing in the warehouse, shooting bad guys yourself.

Usually, you can see the character’s hands, holding a gun or other weapon. This allows you to position the weapon for your character and to change weapons according to the situation.

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First-Person Shooters are usually war games, but they don’t have to be. One game that The Nerd *loved* was BioShock — a game set in an alternate timeline of 1960. You play a plane crash survivor who has to explore an underwater city.

You inject yourself with different steroid-like substances that give you powers — like the ability to shoot lightening from your hands! And yes, you see the needle actually injected into the arm. It’s really gross and disturbing.

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There are two reason Nerds like to play video games. The first is to get a sense of personal achievement by overcoming obstacles and beating objectives in the games. The second is to immerse themselves in the world that is created by the video game.

First-Person Shooters are all about the first reason. That’s the appeal. These games have, for the most part, an over-arching storyline and objective for the player to accomplish.

But it’s more than that — you can collect feathers, go on small missions, rescue civilians and increase your standing in XBox Live. Each of these tasks gives the Nerd a little sense of accomplishment.

He feels like the 60 hours he’s invested in this game was totally worth it because he found each and every one of those feathers. I feel like throwing up thinking that he invested 60 hours of his life looking for feathers. But that’s neither here nor there.

And it doesn’t hurt that you usually get to blow stuff up and shoot people in the head.

Here are some popular First-Person Shooter titles:

Check back next week to learn all about Role Playing Games!

Is there anything you’d like to see covered in Nerdy Things Thursday? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Until next time, live long and prosper!

The Nerd Card

Ever wonder if there’s a way to identify a Nerd on sight?
You know, like if they have a Nerd Club Membership Card?
The answer is yes, yes they do. And here’s my husband’s card:
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This is the Membership Card for DCI, which is a division of Wizards of the West Coast. DCI keeps track of your player statistics for nerdy tournaments, like Magic: The Gathering tournaments.
Your unique DCI number is related to your International Ranking in MTG tournaments.
We are really low on the International Scale. Ask The Nerd about his experience playing against a seven-year-old girl. It wasn’t pretty.
So, if you ever want to know if someone is a Nerd, ask to see their DCI card. If they have one (or if they even know what you’re talking about), they’re definitely a Nerd.
Oh, and guess who else has one?
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I am ashamed. 

Not Me Monday

 

Happy Monday! I’ve decided to join in with MckMama and post about my
*totally* awesome and productive day!
One of the advantages of working with schools is that I get school holidays off! Well, sorta.
I totally did *not* try to sleep in this morning and fail miserably. I did *not* drag myself out of that warm, cozy bed when The Minions were itching to go out early in the morning.
I then did *not* stumble back into the living room and refuse to catch up on my e-mails. Not me. I’m a faithful employee who promptly returns all of her e-mails.
I then did *not* lounge on the couch all day, watching TV and browsing the Interwebs, wearing my pajamas.
I also did *not* keep my pajamas all day. No, I’m *not* writing a blog post right now wearing my PJs.
And I’m definitely *not* cuddled up next to a beautiful beagle.
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With a fluffy Pomeranian at my feet.
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What a great day.

The Race

Since so many of you love Firefly, I thought I’d share a comic from xkcd  – a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.
I don’t get the math and physics references, but when they published this comic about Firefly, I fell in love.
The serious fans always fall for the quotes.
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Happy Friday!

Nerdy Things Thursday: Firefly

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The Nerd and I had just started dating when he decided to take me to Best Buy in search of a new television. He had worked all summer as an intern and had a significant nest egg, which he decided to blow on a big screen TV.
But I digress.
As we were walking down the aisle of Television Series DVDs, he suddenly stopped. And I wondered what he was doing. (The Nerd doesn’t usually deviate from his intended purchase once we enter the store — he goes right for it and then we leave. No browsing allowed.)
His hand reached out and lovingly caressed a DVD on the shelf: Firefly. He then grabbed a whole stack of them and started putting each copy in front of the other DVDs on display. There were only a few copies, so it didn’t take long.
“There,” he said. “Now people will see the Most Awesome Show ever.”
And he is right — Firefly *is* the most awesome show ever.
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It premiered in 2002 on Fox, and only lasted one season, to the chagrin of Nerds around the world. The show takes place, you guessed it, in a faraway galaxy. It chronicles the adventures of the crew of a Firefly-class cargo ship named “Serenity.”
The planets of this universe, though populated by spaceships and laser-gun-carrying agents of the law, are mostly frontier and people still ride horses and shoot with guns you might see in a John Wayne movie.
This juxtaposition of the American Wild West and futuristic technology is extremely interesting and unique.
I think the theme song sums it up:
Take my love, 
Take my land, 
Take me where I cannot stand.

I don’t care,
I’m still free,
You can’t take the sky from me. 

There’s no place
I can be
Since I found Serenity.

You can’t take the sky from me.
And the characters are *real.*
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Captain Malcolm Reynolds (who I secretly pine for) leads the crew. There’s Zoe, his right-hand warrior woman; Wash, the pilot who serves and the show’s comic relief and Zoe’s husband; Jayne, the hired gun; Sheperd Book, a preacher who seems to have more to his past; Kaylee (yes, she’s the namesake for our pup!), the ship’s engineer who keeps the ol’ gal runnin'; Inara, a “Companion” who tags along for the ride; Simon, a doctor trying to rescue his sister from the Alliance; and River, Simon’s psycic sister who is a super-genius.
No, our puppy isn’t the only family member named after a Firefly character. You remember River, my niece
Seriously, if you haven’t seen this show, please go out and get it (or put it in your Netflix cue). I’m sure the DVD set now only costs about $20. It’s well worth it.
Here are some of my favorite Firefly quotes. Can you name the character(s)?
If you take sexual advantage of her, you’re going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.”

“And what does that make us?” “Big damn heroes, sir!” 

“My food is problematic.”

“Mercy is the mark of a great man.” (stab) 
“Guess I’m just a good man.” (stab) 
“Well, I’m alright.”


On a final note, I’d like to thank all of you who commented on my Facebook status with suggestions for Nerdy Things Thursday topics. I took them all to heart and I promise to cover each of them in due time. If you have anything you’d like to see covered in Nerdy Things Thursday, just leave a comment and let me know.

Thanks for looking!

2+2=5

As the wife of a Nerd, I understand that my future children will have their challenges.
While their classmates are pining over Hannah Montana, I’m sure my future son will wish that all girls could be like Princess Leia. And I know that my future daughter will probably be an expert video gamer.
These are just things that I have accepted.
But there are some things that I did not anticipate. Like my dear husband planning to teach our future nerdlings that 2+2=5. Yes, that’s right. 2+2=5
Now, I’m no math genius (thank *God* for the liberal arts!), but I’m pretty sure that one of the easiest math problems is 2+2=4.
But not in our household.
See, there’s this thing in mathematics called Significant Digits. Basically, you assign a number a certain number of Significant Digits, or numbers that matter. In the problem 2+2=?, the numbers have only one Significant Digit.
But they could represent any of the following numbers: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, and so on and so forth.
For example, if you have 2.4 and you are asked to round it to one Significant Digit, you would get the number 2.
Clear as mud?
Anyway, what it boils down to is that 2.4+2.4=4.8 and if you round that to only one Significant Digit for each number, what do you get?
2+2=5
Our children are *so* screwed.


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