Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nerd Alert: Not-So-Guilty Pleasures

John Green of VlogBrothers had this to say about being a nerd. "Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff. We don't have to be like, 'Oh yeah that purse is okay' or like, 'Yeah, I like that band's early stuff.' Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can't-control-yourself-love it. When people call people nerds, mostly what they are saying is, 'You like stuff', which is just not a good insult at all, like 'You are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness'."

I am a self-confessed nerd. Or geek, depending on your definition. I make no bones about being excited about stuff outside the mainstream or outside what is defined as "socially acceptable" for my sex, age group, or living situation (and no, this is not me being a "hipster". I'm not cool enough to be a hipster and I don't really want to be). This includes a fair amount of stuff that falls into the sci-fi/fantasy genre as well as a fascination by a lot of things that fall under the astronomy and space exploration categories. So, here is my top eleven of favorite nerdy, but oh-so-awesome (in my humble opinion) pleasures:

  • Firefly - If you haven't seen Firefly yet, you need to drop what you're doing and watch it. You, my friend, are missing out. I don't know how to properly explain this without sounding ridiculous, but here goes: Think sci-fi meets western with a motley but adorable crew who speak a mixture of English and Chinese. Oh, and some zombie-like creatures wreaking havoc on the far corners of space. Also: Joss Whedon. 
  • Harry Potter - Harry, Harry, Harry. I've heard it all. "They're kids books", "they're dorky", "Really?". Yes, really. Harry Potter includes so much goodness. You're got the classic good v. evil fight, magic (need I say more?), an awesome castle, and a female character who is celebrated for her smarts and courage rather than her dress size or perfectly sculpted eyelashes. And there's Snape. Snape is a badass. Well, actually there's a whole lot more, but that'll have to do for now.
  • Big Bang Theory - I cannot get enough of this show. The celebration of nerd culture without judgement (ok, maybe some laughter, but mostly without judgement) and I love the fact that this is one of the few shows on TV today where I actually get the pop culture references! Add to that a dose of string-theory-lite (it's like diet string theory for those of us that didn't make it past chemistry in science classes) and a veritable pantheon of sci-fi guest stars? Bozhe moi. 
  • Pinterest "Geek" Boards - Sometimes I feel like the only place that my geeky humor is truly appreciated is on Pinterest. Because there are just so many people out there that maybe just do not get the geek appreciation and community they so rightly deserve. And now for a shameless plug: Check out my "Geekery" board for what I find amazing, hysterical, and deliciously dorky.
  • Sanctuary - First things first: Amanda Tapping. She's got quite a sci-fi resume already (SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, Stargate: Continuum, Outer Limits, X-Files), but Sanctuary is one of my favorites of hers. It's reality meets fantasy in a secret sanctuary built for all the world's abnormals (monsters, genetic sports the world isn't quite ready for) and the traffic this place gets --episodes include people like Jack the Ripper, Doctor Watson, Nicola Tesla, vampires, shape-shifters and more. Oh, and there's also the incredibly geeky but cool fact that the series was filmed almost entirely on green screen. 
  • Ancient Astronaut Theory - I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I have to admit that I find this kind of stuff fascinating. It sounds entirely plausible. And is just a fascinating concept to consider. 
  • Encyclopedias - I read encyclopedias as a kid on a regular basis. Mostly because I was lonely and had no friends (maybe due to the encyclopedia reading?), but also because I just wanted to absorb all the knowledge I could.  To this day, I will still go for non-fiction reference books over novels most days. 
  • Doctor Who - How did this one get so low on the list? Doctor Who is like the culmination of everything lovely and geeky. Doctor Who includes history, rewrites history, references Harry Potter and Mary Poppins and includes characters like Shakespeare, Agatha Christie and Hitler. Seriously. "Well, I was on my way to this gay gypsy bar mitzvah for the disabled and I thought 'Gosh, the Third Reich's a bit rubbish. I think I'll kill the Fuhrer." 'Nuff said.
  • NOVA - I could watch this programming for hours on end. Thank you NOVA and PBS. Most recently watched "What Are Dreams?" and spent the rest of the week trying to see if I could control my dreams. Note to self, if you don't actually ever remember what you dream, you may not be the best test subject. 
  • An assortment of other books that are supposedly "too young" for me, but are much more fun than most of the adult reading I encounter - Seriously. This also includes the Harry Potter series, but current honorable mentions go to: The Newsflesh Trilogy and The October Daye series (both written by the same author who goes by Seanan McGuire and Mira Grant).
  • Phineas & Ferb - OK, so I don't watch this all the time, but whenever I see this show, it is just hilarious. Seriously, it's fantastic. It's equal parts kid-fun and mad science (and admittedly very questionable 'science', but still fun just the same). These guys are so funny. And its refreshing to see a kids show about inventing and creating. Rather than school 'drama' and materialism. 

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