Geek Fallacies: An Introduction

Over the last few weeks, Eden Paradox and I have been discussing what she calls Geek Fallacies quite a bit.  They seem to happen in every group of friends, but in particular, geeky ones.  And before people go calling us names and pouting over what we’ve talked about and what I’m writing, yes, she and I have fallen into them on many occasions.  I’m not writing this short series to make anyone angry, or to poke fun at anyone or anything.  In fact, I’m pretty sure many of these “Geek” Fallacies occur within any group of friends.  I think it’s because geeks tend to seek out other geeks, and want to remain in social circles with similar interests and views, that they happen so frequently.

See, being a geek can get lonely.  You try to talk about your interests, and it’s hard to find someone who understands.  I discovered Lord of the Rings and all things Tolkien during my senior year of college, and was total, irreversibly obsessed.  Unfortunately, no one else I knew was, so I kind of felt cut off.  I could talk about anything with my friends and family, but the One Thing I did want to talk about, no one knew anything about.  Conversations about it were one-sided, and I feared boring people.  Eventually I found outlets for it, yada yada yada; but that’s another story for another time.

The point is this: as geeks, we wind up gravitating toward other geeks.  We like that we have friends who ‘get’ us.  When I met MLHawke and joined a D&D game at her house, and we became close friends, and as an extension I met many others with whom I shared interests, goals, and values, my mother said, “You found your people!”  It’s a great feeling, not gonna lie!

But as social circles expand, there are things that crop up.  We all have flaws, that’s just a fact.  But there are things that some people do that, as friends, we just accept because they’re part of the group.  And I’m not talking things like laughing too loud at the movies, or eating the last of the dip, or things like that.  Things that are not always socially acceptable, or are very, painfully awkward; and behaviors that, by overlooking and shrugging off, we just enable and encourage and inadvertently make worse.  We overlook these things, or just quietly accept them because “they’re in the group” and we figure we have to.  Or, “they’re not a bad guy/girl otherwise.”  Excuses we make because we feel we have to, because we feel that if we are intolerant or unaccepting, we’re being disloyal to the group.

I’m rambling a little bit now because it’s almost 3am and I can’t sleep, but my brain is only semi-functional as well.  But the point is this: often we don’t realize there is an issue until we talk about it, and it may be a little taboo to talk about geek fallacies for any number of reasons.  But by opening up a discussion about them, we may in fact improve our relationships with one another because we’re not slowly building up resentment and just grinning and bearing it.

So I’m not sure how many parts this will be, I just know there are a few things that I’ve learned from my own geekily fallacious behavior, and seen and heard and talked about, and figure what the hey, it’s the internet.  Sharing is caring.

Geek Life Recap

The last couple months have been pretty full.  I finished up the school year, and as I was a co-advisor to the graduating class, I had a great deal of things to help plan and implement.  I’ve also been planning and implementing my wedding, which is in two and a half weeks.  We’re working on the details of getting me moved into Bard’s house, along with our three furbabies.

I also went to PortCon Maine, a 2,000-ish attended con in southern Maine at the end of June.  I presented on games and mythology: how games use old myths, and also create new ones.  It was really interesting to put together.  I got the idea from the mythology class I taught second semester.  I was fortunate to have many gamers in my class, all of whom began talking about how they saw their favorite games utilize elements of mythology.  Some inherited existing creatures and deities, while others used the tenets of mythology to create something new and original.  It was my first time going to PortCon, and hence also my first time presenting there.  I had some technical difficulties; for one, I made a Prezi, rather than the usual PowerPoint.  I’d seen Prezi in action at a PAX East presentation, and thought it would be more technological and visually appealing than PowerPoint.  Well, it is if you can access your Prezi on the internet, which I couldn’t do.  We were going to have our friend set up his phone as a hotspot, and then I found the Prezi app on my iPhone and presented from my iPhone.  It was not idea, but it did in a pinch.  And the crowd was pretty wonderful, adding a lot to the discussion that I will be able to file away and use in next year’s classes.

My bridal shower went very well, and I did a meadery tour and tasting for my bachelorette party.  There was also dinner, karaoke, and Cards Against Humanity!

This weekend coming up, I head down to Burlington, Massachusetts for ReaderCon.  ReaderCon has fast become one of my favorite points in the year.  It’s not quite up there with PAX East, but I definitely look forward to it.  It’s low-key in that there are no costumes, and the dealer’s floor is all books.  But it’s very intellectual, and I love going to panels and getting more insight into speculative fiction.  Last year I went to one about Frankenstein, and one about language acquisition and reading and how it affects the teaching and appreciation of speculative fiction.  This year’s schedule is looking very promising, and what’s more, Eden Paradox, my best friend, is joining this year!

In between these things I’ve been bringing my things over to Bard’s as we get things sorted for my move.  This week I’ll be doing some work to help prepare things for our new home together.  When I can’t do things there, I’m packing here, and when I can’t pack, I’m usually gaming.  I’m working on achievements in Skyrim, my AU Dragon Age fanfic, and browsing courses on coursera.org.  I took a class on gamification through them, and it’s going to really help my teaching strategies.  I did some experimentation at the end of last year, and while I didn’t collect hard data, I noticed a great improvement in achieving target behaviors from even my toughest students!  The next class I’m taking through there is about MMOs as a new form of narrative, and my homework is playing Lord of the Rings Online.  Ouch, not sure I can handle that! 😉

That’s the geek life recap for now… while I hang out I should blog more about more things.  Maybe some more about gamification, or what Eden Paradox calls “geek fallacies” in friend circles.  Or any requests.  So… any requests?  Put it in the comments, and prepare for a cynical response!