Nerd Lunch Wives: Talk Nerdy to Me

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Since all of us are married guys, CT came up with the idea to hear from the wives of the Nerd Lunch crew. What is like to be married to a grown man who buys action figures? When did these ladies figure out that the pile of oddly shaped dice were not leftovers from a European version of Monopoly? Why would they fall for someone who considers gyros and Mountain Dew to be haute cuisine? These are just some of the questions we’re hoping to illuminate in these posts. Today Dr. Mrs. Jeeg joins us with her take. -- Jeeg

 

Jeeg is a nerd. He loves Dungeons & Dragons, Star Trek, Futurama, the old WWF (not the World Wildlife Fund), Magnum, P.I., The Young and the Restless, and Maude. He can talk computer lingo till the Angry Birds come home. He knows all the scientific names for our pet rat’s medications, and he understands which one does what. He lives in fear that one of our children will be sporty and will want Jeeg to teach her/him to play ball.

 

He’s a nerd, and I love him.

 

Oddly shaped diceWhen we first dated, he hid some of his nerdiness from me. But he veiled his references to D&D to no avail. I come from a nerdy family. My parents and aunts and uncles didn’t play D&D — they made up their own role-playing games. All of my siblings and I and both my parents read and write science fiction and fantasy. My brother draws fantasy art. (How many times have I had to tell him, “Women don’t really look like that, you know”? Also, “Her shirt would only cling like that if it was wet,” and “She looks cold.”) It was a special evening when Jeeg felt comfortable enough with me to not only show me his special bag of D&D dice, but also to let me touch them. I, a mere woman.

 

I grabbed all the dice and cackled, until Jeeg held out the empty bag with a dry “I think that’s enough for now. We don’t want to overheat you.”

 

I suppose I was uniquely prepared to appreciate and desire a nerd husband. I tended to shy away from dating athletic males — they also tended to shy away from dating me. One thing I have never been shy about is telling people when I am smarter than they are, or at least that I am right and they are wrong. This happens more often than you might think. Most men, especially athletic men, don’t respond well.

 

I tested Jeeg’s mettle on our first lunch date. He voiced an opinion, and I told him that actually, a recent study with a large sample size suggested that his view was wrong. He said, “Interesting.” When I got back to my computer, I emailed him a link to said study. He emailed me back right away — no, not to tell me where to get off. He said, “You have excellent research skills.”

 

From then on, I was hooked on Jeeg.

 

D&D Flowchart by Sam PottsTo tell the truth, I do not understand why people think being a nerd is bad. Some nerds are irritatingly pedantic about their interests, but so are a lot of non-nerds, so I can’t agree that being an irritating pedant is a core characteristic of nerdiness. In fact, Jeeg plays off his nerdiness by pretending to be a D&D pedant: every fantasy-based movie or TV show we watch must conform to the D&D versions of mythological creatures, or he points out repeatedly how they are wrong about vampires / zombies / naiads / giants / warlocks / druids / elves (Note from Jeeg: What the heck is a naiad?). Most of the time, this makes me laugh. Most of the time.

 

But I really don’t get why nerdiness is supposed to be bad. Nerds are smart, quick, witty, passionate, imaginative, and colorful, as well as brave and honest about what they really, really enjoy. I find that people who try to be like other mainstreamers end up succeeding; they become just like everyone else in the main herd, with no funny little individual hooks to catch my interest. The color greige might be terribly sophisticated, but there’s no joy in it.

 

I was surprised that I had to spell it out to Jeeg a few days ago. I thought that, after three years of dating me and four of being married to me, he would have picked up on the fact that I value his nerdiness very highly. It is the key characteristic (or set of characteristics) that prepared him to be my mate, in every sense of the word. If he were not a nerd, he would not have been worthy to be my husband.

 

Fortunately for me and my sex life, Jeeg is a nerd, through and through. I adore him. I only hope he’ll stay that way.

 

Jeeg here again. Let this be proof that there indeed is a lid to every pot. I’m grateful that my particular lid digs fantasy novels, Britcoms, Jackie Chan movies, and was more than willing to watch all 173 episodes of Deep Space Nine on DVD. And yes, I am a sexual Tyrannosaurus.

Nerd Lunch Podcast 13: Cartoon Crushes

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Kristin from the Geeks Girls Network joins CT and Pax to discuss characters that would animate our cels, so to speak, if we were also cartoons. Find out who we choose as the one to reject, the one who got away, the ideal bad girl/guy, and the true love. Also listen for the patented TAG Network creepiness detector to alert when we consider the ages of some picks, discuss "He-Man's sword", delve into cross species dating, and think about the prospect of cartoon babies. Plus in the most unexpected twist of the week, one of the Nerd To-Do Lists includes a marathon... in real life... involving actual running.

The Marvels and the DCs, part 1

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A few weeks ago, I announced that I would be sending out Marvel and DC Comics post cards to anyone who asked for them. All I asked for was a photo of you and the post card once you go it. Well, I have sent a bunch out and even have several photos back.

First, I should say that I have a very few number of post cards left. Our results so far put DC clearly in the lead. I have only 1 of the 20 left. If you still want a DC post card, check out the rules in the other post and jump on that quick. If you want a Marvel post card, I have six left. I should warn you, the post cards at this point are some of the more lame cards I have left. But, it's still fun and I hope you let me know if you want one.

I want to highlight some of the fans who received post cards over the next few weeks. I will just do a few at a time to spread out the fun over time. Today, we have the first three who got pics back to me and they are all DCs.

Amanda (DC)
Amanda was the first to get a picture back to me which is not surprising since she lives only a few minutes away from Tallahassee, Florida. She is a big fan of Batman but I later found out she is not that big of a fan of Robin. I'm a huge fan of Robin and have always thought that if he's good enough for Batman, he's good enough for me. This argument seems to have convinced Amanda

Marc (DC)
Visitors to Nerd Lunch should know that this is the guy who drew the caricatures of me, Jeeg, and PLee. I worked with him for a few years and we would often argue about the finer points of nerdom. However, whenever we did agree about an issue, it could be noted as no longer just being an opinion, but fact. This was "sealed" with a high five that could be heard throughout the Leon County area.

Geekarino (DC)
Geekarino is a good Twitter pal and I've gotten to know him a little bit by both of us being fans of The Atomic Geeks. I recently discovered through The Atomic Geeks forums that Geekarino is a fan of Micronauts which is cool because the Micronauts are awesome. He's also recently given us an iTunes review. Have you?

Nerd Lunch Podcast 12: NerdHF

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This week we follow in the footsteps of Weird Al Yankovic and program our very own UHF stations. None of us are bold enough to reboot the Volcano Worshiper's Hour, but we devise some interesting line-ups regardless. As long as it’s nerdy, we’ve got it all on NerdHF. A local creature feature host? Check. Classic 80s cartoons? Double check. Star Trek reruns? Of course. Angel reunion movies with David Boreanaz? Sure, why not. But wait, there’s more! All listeners will also receive the new Nerd To-Do List segment at no extra charge.

Element: Klingon

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As a special little coda to yesterday's post about Episode 11 of the Nerd Lunch Podcast, we wanted to share this awesome graphic that Jen sent us. In fact, I will just share her email:
Background....We're hosting a party room at WindyCon this coming weekend and the theme is The Periodic Table of Sci-Fi Elements.

Our stage manager offered to create a poster and fliers for us to hand out..... as we were kicking around ideas, we both thought "how cool would it be to have the  periodic table in Klingon...?"

And she did it.

She used the actual piqad characters and matched them up with their letter equivalent on the table. The one that's zoomed in is the "new element" and is the symbol for the "tlh" sound that is the first letter of the word "Klingon" (tlhIngan). :)

So... yeah. :)
This now exists.

Amazing.

Nerd Lunch Podcast 11: A Klingon Christmas Carol

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Cast member and official tweeter for A Klingon Christmas Carol, Jen Usellis Mackay, joins us at the lunch table this week. Jen gives us the inside scoop on what it's like to work on the first play performed in the Klingon language, how to get in on this year's performances in Chicago, and Yo-Yo Ma's Romulan music project (not really). Later the Nerds get a mini language lesson from Jen and we all play a few rounds of "our favorite Klingon things". Listen and find out why tlhutlhlu'meH QaQ jajvam!

(Nerd) Lunch Special: The Old Fashioned House Burger

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My wife and I recently took a day trip to Madison, Wisconsin. While Madison is a great place to visit in general, one element I need for a satisfactory road trip is quality eats (hossin’ as we say around here). My online scouting for a lunch spot led me to The Old Fashioned tavern and restaurant downtown on Capitol Square. I was not disappointed.

 

The lunch menu at The Old Fashioned features a variety of fantastic sounding sandwiches. I thought it would be difficult to settle on an order because of that, but when I came across item #30 the choice became clear.

House Burger

No. 30
The Old Fashioned House Burger-grilled over a live fire and topped with fried onions, Bavaria's hickory-smoked bacon, aged Cheddar, garlic sauce and a soft-cooked egg on a buttered and toasted roll

I had never tried a burger topped with fried egg, but whom am I to argue with a thumbs up from our buddy Nick at DudeFoods? Nick is right, the burger and egg are a great combination. The House Burger’s bacon slices, cheddar, and garlic sauce all complimented the beef and runny yolk perfectly. The french fries did not live up to the burger, so next time I’ll pre-book double bypass surgery and spring for the fried cheese curds on the side.

 

Of course, I may have to time my next visit to The Old Fashioned for brunch instead so I can try their bratwurst eggs benedict. It may be good for my health that I’m only a visitor to Madison rather than a resident.

Nerd Lunch Podcast 10: Classic He-Man Toys

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Shawn Robare of Branded in the 80s returns to join CT, Jeeg, and Pax. We discuss the Masters of the Universe toys of our youth including favorites, disappointments, and those figures or vehicles we wanted but never got. Along the way we learn about our collective obsession with Faker, the dirty hippies employed by Mattel, and Shawn's quest to create a topless Evil Lynn. Last but not least, Atomic Geek Christian Nielsen makes an unexpected appearance by the power of Grayskull (or some evil sorcery called Skype).

If you're listening along and are not intimately familiar with He-Man, you might enjoy checking out He-Man.org.

24, Ten Years Later

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Ten years ago tonight, the first episode of 24 aired. Having already been in the pipeline for months before the World Trade Center and Pentagon tragedies, this show wound up being incredibly relevant and played into the mindset of society at the time. As a society, we lived in fear of more attacks but we had a fictional hero in Jack Bauer who could prevent those attacks. In fact, I think the atmosphere of the time changed the show and the characters turning Jack Bauer into an even tougher force of nature delivering swift justice to the bad guys allowing us to live vicariously through him. He was smart, but it appears he is set up to be much more of a thinking man initially. Although, I could be reading more into that game of chess than I should.

The concept of the show was that the season would be twenty-four episodes long and each episode would show one hour of this particular day. The first season of the show is incredibly strong and with the exception of a couple of missteps, I would say it was a creative success and the best of the entire series. The beauty of the first season is the mundane. Because of the time constraints and the real-time aspect of the show, common things such as red lights could lead into incredibly tense scenes. The plot of the first season was also relatively simple in comparison to later seasons. This brought it down and made it more relatable. When this show originally aired, I remember saying that I wish it would have only gotten a season and just be a one-time experiment. I even flirted with the idea of not continuing on watching the show, but things were left hanging and I wanted to see more of Jack Bauer.

Season two wound up being another particularly strong season. But the stakes had to be raised and setting off a nuclear bomb on American soil seemed to be an upper crest of plot ideas that shouldn't be topped. I would have been fine with them bringing the story down in scope, but Hollywood never seems to share this idea with me. Instead, season three came along and made so many odd choices that I contemplated dropping the show. I stuck it out and it got better, but not resolving the President Palmer cliffhanger ending and turning Kim Bauer into a CTU agent never set well with me. Season four made an attempt to purge some old characters and introduce new ones all the while trying to again raise the stakes with a long series of terrorist actions over the course of one day. It has a rocky start, but eventually shows strength in a solid, season-long villain played by Arnold Vosloo.

For me, this marked the end of 24. Although I did continue on to watch season five, I found that season to be absurd and I gave it up after that. Season five begins by killing off two major characters and eventually appears to kill off a much beloved third. I wanted to like this season with the inclusion of Peter Weller as the villain, but new writers, including one from the just canceled Enterprise, killed the consistency and quality on this show. By this point, the real-time novelty seemed to have worn off for them and they were cheating that more and more instead of using it. They also couldn't get away from several tropes. CTU had to have a mole in every season, sometimes more than one mole. They also couldn't get away from having to include the president in the storyline. And there were several presidents throughout the series.* [See below for a big rant about the whole presidents thing.]

I can't speak to seasons 6-8 since I have not seen them. I do feel like I will watch them someday, but I'm not rushing out to do so.

There has been talk of a 24 movie. In fact, my understanding is that the show ended rather weakly leaving it open for Jack Bauer's return. That's a shame if that's the case. With eight seasons, the show deserved a solid ending. And the character of Jack Bauer may no longer have the relevance he once did now that Osama Bin Laden has been found and killed. If he were to return, he would need to find new cultural relevance, perhaps being a force that can unite a country that seems so divided and hateful towards one another. Jack Bauer inspired many common people on the show to fight for his cause. Perhaps he could once again inspire an audience to work together for a common good. Or perhaps it is best that he not move on from that period of time where we needed him the most.



*The president thing did get stupid. If I lived in the 24-iverse, I'd probably move to Canada. To highlight the absurdity of the show, I'll list out the nine presidents that the show had over eight seasons:
  • Season one does not show the president, but there was one presumably. There was reference made to another fictional president named Harry Barnes that would have been president after Reagan and before Palmer. It does not appear he was president during season one, but there is no confirmation on that to my knowledge.
  • In season two, Palmer has become president, but near the end of the season, James Prescott, Palmer's VP becomes president after a vote of no-confidence. This does not stick, but Prescott was acting-president for a short time.
  • In season three, Palmer is president in spite of an assassination attempt. Palmer decides not to run for a second term after his ex-wife is killed.
  • In season four, John Keeler is president but an attack on Air Force One renders him incapacitated. He never returns and it is my impression that he died, but I guess that was never confirmed. As a result, Charles Logan becomes president.
  • In season five, Logan is still president, but turns out to be one of the big bads in that season. He is arrested. Hal Gardner (comic book fan writer on the staff, I presume?) becomes president and finishes out the term.
  • In season six, Wayne Palmer, brother of David Palmer was president. He was assassinated and replaced by his VP, Noah Daniels.
  • In season seven, Allison Taylor was president and she remained president for all of seasons seven and eight. Although even during season seven, there was an attack attempted on the White House.
It is also interesting to note that the entire series takes place over 14 years or so due to the referenced gaps in time between seasons. So, in 14 years, at least one, if not two sitting presidents were assassinated, a presidential candidate had an attempt made on his life and was eventually assassinated after his time as president, a president was charged with major crimes, and an attack was made on the White House. And according to 24: The Game, there was an assassination attempt on Vice-President Prescott's life. I realize this is fiction, but it's just a bit much in my opinion.

176 Days

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For those who don't know, I am in grad school and have been since 2009. I am in my home stretch. If all goes according to plan, there are only...


In January, a teaser disc with four episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation in full 1080p comes out. By the end of 2012, more episodes will make their way to Blu-ray. Whether I own these or not, I am anxiously looking forward to making my way through 176 episodes of the series again in HD.

Nerd Lunch Podcast 9: The Replicators Are Broken!

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On this week’s episode CT, Pax, and Jeeg embark on an excursion under the command of starship captain and pop culture blogger Jay Amabile of The Sexy Armpit blog. When a wormhole flings the ship across the galaxy and damages all systems, some hard choices have to be made. Jeeg can get the damaged food replicator back online, but with only 10 recipes. The guys have to come together to decide what will be on the menu for the next several decades and, to nobody’s surprise, it won’t be health food. Hopefully Jeeg can fix the Emergency Medical Hologram program next.

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