Archive for August, 2011

How (Not) to Date a Nerd

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

A friend of mine sent me a link yesterday to a Gizmodo post titled “My Brief Affair with a World Champion Magic: The Gathering Player.” The date goes precisely as a nerd might fear it would.

At dinner I got straight down to it. Did he still play? “Yes.” Strike one. How often? “I’m preparing for a tournament this weekend.” Strike two. Who did he hang out with? “I’ve met all my best friends through Magic.” Strike three. I smiled and nodded and listened. […]

So what did I learn? Google the shit out of your next online date. Like, hardcore.

I’m not writing this to condemn the author of this article; a sizable portion of the internet seems to have done so quite extensively already. Nor am I writing this to speculate about what Gizmodo, a heavily nerd-trafficked blog, was thinking in running the article (though the “nerd bait” theory seems reasonable). Rather, I’m writing this because I think I might disagree with the message many of my fellow nerds take from this story.

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Sexism, Misogyny & Misandry in Geek Cultures

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

A certain blog post caught my eye on Google today: “Sexism and Misogyny in Geek Cultures.” I had never seen the post on Google before in my regular checks just to see what the internet thinks the top 10 results for “geek cultures” should be. I was pretty disappointed with it, though, given its exceedingly narrow definition of sexism, and complete failure to recognize what sexism looks like off the internet. It was all the more galling that I’m the one who wrote it.

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And Now for Something Relatively Different

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

For the first time in a very long while, this fall won’t be “back to school” season for me. Instead of returning to a faculty position, I’m taking an indefinitely long leave of absence from working as a professional academic.

The reasons behind this decision are personal, so I’ll skip the details. I will say, though, that I don’t see this as “quitting academia” so much as engaging with it differently. I’m still slated to go to at least one conference this year, still keeping up with my favorite journals, and still working on a book that I hope will be of interest to general and academic audiences alike. I like academia. I just don’t feel the best way for me to participate in it right now is as a tenure-track professor.

All of that said, I’m really enjoying working on some projects I didn’t have much time to do as a full-time teacher and the coordinator of a Communication department. Currently, I’m developing a mobile game with a friend that I’ve been dreaming about making for years, writing about games and culture, doing some freelance production and consulting work, and, of course, getting Geek Cultures into shape for publication.

For the time being, I’m working on establishing a reliable income from freelance writing, design, and consulting. My LinkedIn profile is geared toward part-time and temporary work, but if you happen to know of a neat company or nonprofit that could use a full-time, Boston-based specialist in geeks, games, online communities, and visual communication, please feel free to drop me a line.

And stay tuned to this space – I probably won’t be any less busy than I was as a professor, but I still have plenty of nerdy things to blog about.