Those of you who know me a little have probably guessed that I'm a bit of a geek, but only my best friends are aware of just how nerdy I can be. So let me crack open the door to the closet a little and let you have a peek inside.
Firstly, my job. I work on an IT help desk, and prior to that I worked in microbiology laboratories, so immediately you know I'm going to have at least a hint of the geek about me. But the geek taint runs deeper in me, oh yes, much deeper indeed. When I'm not helping the good folks at my workplace use their computers I return home to my cave and let my true nerd surface. I love reading science fiction and fantasy novels, so have a bit of a library of my preferred authors at home. Robert A Heinlein is probably my favourite, although Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, David Eddings, Julian May and many others also grace my bookshelves. I think the thing I like most about Heinlein is that while his works are strongly sci-fi, at their heart they are very human stories. Science fact still interests me as well, even if my career has headed in a different direction. And though I majored in botany/microbiology I also remain fascinated by, and try to keep abreast of, the discoveries in the fields of astronomy, cosmology and physics.
In addition to working with computers I also enjoy playing on them. Yes, I'm a bit of a gamer. I am the first to admit that I'm not a very good gamer, my reaction times aren't what they used to be, so I don't usually go for fast-paced multi-player shooters. I'm much more comfortable with a good old turn-based strategy title (the Civilisation series has collectively absorbed many many hours of my life) or a role playing game. I am currently playing through an old classic RPG that I never completed the first time around, namely Baldur's Gate 2. Titles like these have the added advantage of being easily saved, paused and/or exited at pretty short notice; having a young baby in the house means this happens often. :)
Geek chic is on the rise, but there is still, I think, a fairly strong social stigma surrounding some of the more extreme nerd pastimes. And there is no really good reason for this other than the innate human predilection for fearing and belittling that which is different and which we don't understand. So it is good to see guys like Wil Wheaton being so openly nerdy. Wil is probably best known as an actor. His roles include Gordie Lachance in the film Stand by Me, Wesley Crusher on the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and more recently an evil version of himself, and Sheldon Cooper's nemesis, on the TV series The Big Bang Theory. But Wil is also openly geek. For those of you likely to be interested in this sort of thing, and I'm hoping there will be at least a couple of you, Wil hosts a quite entertaining web series called TableTop on the Geek & Sundry website. Essentially Wil invites a few mates around to play boardgames, films & edits it, adds some commentary and descriptions of the game rules and mechanics, and releases it onto YouTube. I'd like to give Wil some special kudos for getting Steve Jackson in to play Munchkins. Yes nerds, THAT Steve Jackson! Wil takes him on at his own game, along with Felicia Day and Sandeep Parikh, but you'll have to watch the episode yourself to see if the padawan becomes the master.
On the very slim chance that Wil or someone else associated with TableTop reads this I'd like to thank you for advancing the nerd cause, for introducing me to some games I'd never heard of, and mostly for giving me a bloody good laugh. I'd love to see you guys have a crack at something like the Civilisation board game, but it does take a long time to play, so probably wouldn't translate well into the 30 minute format of TableTop. I own a copy of the English version published by Gibson Games, but I think I like the look and feel of the US version by Avalon Hill in the early 80's a bit more. It is long out of print now of course, but you can often pick up copies of out of print games on eBay. And if you're feeling especially generous I'd gladly allow you to use my copy, it is still in pretty good condition. You'll just have to fly it to the States, along with it's minder :)
I think that is probably enough self-exposure for one evening, and anyway I'm missing what might be a tight finish in the New Zealand vs Pakistan 20/20 cricket game, although it isn't looking promising. Go the Black Caps! And as the big fella said, the geeks shall inherit the earth.