Mikki Halpin (filmmag) Mon 14 Aug 00 05:08
dear farklempt: marjorie is awfully fond of that s-word. let's not go there. and, in my humble opinion, you are not a geek.
Mikki Halpin (filmmag) Mon 14 Aug 00 05:09
lolly: I dont think there is an upper (or lower) age limit for geeks. the books discusses granparents geeks and child geeks. Im curious tho, why you sak that. do you think geekism is something someone might outgrow?
Mikki Halpin (filmmag) Mon 14 Aug 00 05:13
and re: geek culture, defining it.... well first, going to a homo leather bar certainly doesnt make anyone more or less of a geek, so I think your original diagnosis of geek is probably ok. I think geek culture is definable and recognizable, in the same way that (for me) catholic culture or, sa in marjorie's example feminism is. there are many kinds of participants, from extreme to extreme, and often the most whoops not the most an important part of any culture is how others define it or even demonize it.
blather storm (lolly) Mon 14 Aug 00 08:44
I guess it's that 20 or 30 years ago, my idea of a geek was (since I am a music-culture person) the guy who was building recording consoles out of spare parts and collecting microphones and recording all his friends' concerts, etc. This guy comes in all ages, of course, and you find him a lot hanging around small public radio stations. But I never much thought of it as a culture - other than the kind of camraderie I enjoy on my engineering software users group. Now that programming has become the dominant geek pursuit it DOES seem like there's a culture surrounding it and it seems to me to be more youth- oriented, and somehow distinct from the electronics guys of my past. So that's why I wonder (and clearly, am a bit at sea about definitions).
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 14 Aug 00 09:11
geeks, nerds, whatever... intelligent, sensitive, therefore reviled by jockboys and cheerleaders: it starts in junior high and high school and goes from there. Except the geeks found their power online, no? The balance of power is forever changed: the richest man in the world is clearly a geek. The captain of the football team's selling insurance.
Laurel Krahn (lakrahn) Mon 14 Aug 00 09:23
I'm still taken aback when I run across someone who thinks "geek" is a negative term. But it happens a fair bit.
'Got To! (freeform) Mon 14 Aug 00 09:46
They were in the Projector club in grammar school...
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Mon 14 Aug 00 10:23
(BTW, to hear Mikki Halpin reading a segment of her book visit: http://www.mp3lit.com/nonfiction/halpin.html )
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 14 Aug 00 10:38
laurel, geek did begin as a negative term (see the definition up yonder)... its power is that the negative's been transformed to a positive, but mundanes don't get that.
Laurel Krahn (lakrahn) Mon 14 Aug 00 10:53
jon-- true, but I'm so surrounded by geeks, I guess, that if I chance upon someone who thinks "geek" is an insult, it startles me! (says she who's been online for 15+ years and basically grew up online and mostly hangs out with techies and/or science fiction fans)
snarly (obizuth) Mon 14 Aug 00 12:26
not to derail this convo...but: mikki, the book's description of how to program your geek to perform simple tasks seriously saved my life. i am forever in your debt. can you talk us thru the issue of geek-nongeek communication, how we non-geeks can achieve our objectives thru better geek programming? one specific example (hint: air conditioner) seriously is brill.
Scott Packard (spackard) Mon 14 Aug 00 15:43
My own experience as a geek and dating in general during those critical teen years was: Moms dug me but the girls wanted nothing to do with me.
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 14 Aug 00 16:03
Mikki, here's a comment from someone with the same last name as yours: From HalpinA@jwci.org Mon Aug 14 15:52:34 2000 Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2000 14:12:30 -0700 From: Ann Halpin <HalpinA@jwci.org> To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: geeks Mikki Halpin - Can you tell at an early age whether or not a person will be a geek? How about these "older" geeks, what were they like as children-before computers? Ann in California
Gail Williams (gail) Mon 14 Aug 00 16:14
Mikki, after you get that one, I've got a politico-geek Q: Bush seems slicker (but also slimyer) than Gore, Gore seems geekier than Bush. Any Geek chic for the VP candidate to draw on, do you think? How would you advise him?
Angus MacDonald (angus) Tue 15 Aug 00 01:09
> How about these "older" geeks, what were they like as > children-before computers? As freeform remarked above, we were AV nurds.
Mikki Halpin (filmmag) Tue 15 Aug 00 06:42
re 36: thanks! let me be clear that the book doesnt offer non-geeks a way to program their geeks to achieve the nongeeks objective willy nilly. that would be wrong, and geeks are too smart to fall for that. the skills and upgrade strategies offered in the book allow the non geek to help his or her geek to function more optimally, to be more productive, to be happier. this is an exciting prospect but also a heavy responsibility. for example, here is the section you refer to, with the air conditioner: (note this is cut and pasted from a draft I found on my computer, the actual book might read slightly differently) ------- 2.4 Upgrade Strategies 2.4.1 Make it a challenge, not a request Begin by programming your geek to perform simple tasks. Let's say you want him to finally get the air conditioner working. It's hot, and the only thing that is going to make you happy is a nicely chilled house and some ice cream. You look over at your geek, who is typing away, oblivious to the both the heat and your needs. Don't expect your geek to figure out what you want all by himself. Dropping hints that even an ordinary guy might miss will get you nowhere. Consider this example: She: It's so hot. I am sweating like a pig! What She Wants to Hear: Oh pookie! Let's get ice cream and crank up the air conditioner. What She Will Hear: (not looking up from monitor) Actually, pigs don't sweat. Their skin has no sweat glands at all. That is why you will find pigs in the mud. Here, I have made a simple PowerPoint presentation which will explain the difference to you. It's not that your geek lacks sympathy--he cares about you. It is just that he cannot process the information you are presenting, so he is focusing on a flaw in your data. Strange as it may seem, he is debugging you to get the program to work. Geeks have earned to be very precise in pinpointing and analyzing problems. Once you know this, it will be easier to frame your comments so as to get a more desirable outcome. She: It's so hot. I wonder if it is possible to put the air conditioner on a timer so that it will be cool when we get home from work. He: Where's my toolbox? She: It's here! I'll go get the ice cream ------- this all looks way better with the fine book design and illos by Georgia Rucker, of course.
Mikki Halpin (filmmag) Tue 15 Aug 00 06:43
spackard, we mentioned that very phenomenon in the original article!
Mikki Halpin (filmmag) Tue 15 Aug 00 06:45
dear ann (my mom) there is a timeline in the book which addresses geek culture going all the way back to the babylonian dust abacus. computers came from geeks, not the other way around.
Mikki Halpin (filmmag) Tue 15 Aug 00 06:47
gail, I dont think either gore or bush (or lieberman or cheney) are geeky. I have never seen any of them take anything apart, have you? Ross perot demonstrated some geeky qualities with his reliance on charts, but in general I dont see many geeks-as-career-politicians.
Emily J. Gertz (emilyg) Tue 15 Aug 00 08:18
Mikki and Marjorie: hiya! I recall reading Mikki's original essay a few years ago. I was very amused by the part about relating your geek's personality to a Star Trek archetype. You see, I was a trekkie as a child! By late teenhood I had figured out that it was somehow declasse; also, I'd moved on to Star Wars and The Dragonriders of Pern. But Mikki's article was the first inkling I had that I could embrace my early fannish self with pride. Then, a couple years ago, a friend from New Zealand forwarded me the essay, and I realized that I had been in on the beginning of a net phenom. Said friend also included a .gif of a geeky co-worker, perhaps hoping to entice me to move to NZ. Reading the book, the portrait of the geek parent resonates. Why, just yesterday my father forwarded me the current "George W. Bush's recod in Texas" spam, and then in the evening engaged me in another round of the pros and cons of DSL for his office phone. So, congrats Mikki on helping sort out this new realm of social challenges. I have not finished the book yet so forgive me if this is addressed therein, but: Do you feel there is an ideal non-geek personality that mates well with geeks? One seems to hear anecdotally of romantic relationships that begin with the non-geek partner swooning over the geek, only to run up on the rocks of geeky non-emotiveness.
snarly (obizuth) Tue 15 Aug 00 08:27
ooh, emily just gave me an idea for a whole new franchise for mikki. you know those mating-by-astrology books, with all the different signs andall their different possible pairings? you could do one for all the diff kidnds of geeks and nongeeks! it's a FRANCHISE! and a PERENNIAL! and so much less moronic than so many that actually exist. i was going to ask later about the role of star trek in geek culture, so mikki, if you want to talk about that earlier, be my guest. come on people, the air conditioner series is BRILLIANT. can i get a witness? <white girl voice> i think some pepole did not understand your distinction with programming your geek for GOOD vs programming your geek for EVIL. (not nec talking about people here--more like certain stupid outsiders.) your programming is for teh ultimate happiness of your geek. it is not The Rules. it is not to brainwash the geek into being a better mate.
Ron Hogan (grifter) Tue 15 Aug 00 08:32
You know, within two weeks of my mom getting online, she forwarded me a note warning about the Good Times virus. Honest to God.
conundrum (choco) Tue 15 Aug 00 08:46
Are there half-geeks, or geek hybrids?
gone (scraps) Tue 15 Aug 00 09:05
Love the air conditioner routine.
Emily J. Gertz (emilyg) Tue 15 Aug 00 09:52
It is destined to be a classic, I agree.
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