SciTechBlog
May 25, 2010

Geek Out!: Happy Geek Pride, Towel, etc. Day!

Posted: 04:59 PM ET

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From sci-fi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it, you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

Romulans, puppeteers, hobbits - lend me your ears! Today, we geeks can gather today and celebrate all that makes us unique.

Worldwide, May 25 is known as Geek Pride Day, Towel Day (for "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" fans like our own No. 42 above) and Glorious 25th of May, for Discworld fans.

See how some are celebrating Geek Pride Day on iReport.

Although Geek Pride Day is a relatively new holiday; founded in Spain in 2006, the Inalienable Rights of Geekdom (at least as we see them) that it celebrates are not:

1. The right to strive to be even geekier.
2. The right to not leave your house when there's plenty to entertain you there.
3. The right to not like football or any other sport.
4. The right to freely associate with other nerds.
5. The right to have a few select (inevitably awesome) friends.
6. The right to have a ton of friends - each geekier than the last.
7. The right to not be “in-style.”
8. The right to be overweight/underweight/have poor eyesight and the like.
9. The right to show off your geekiness at all times.
10. The right to take over the world.

Not all geeks will agree with or adhere to all - or in some cases even most - of these rules. Everybody geeks out in their own way; that's the beauty of it.

But we can all agree that being a geek can be a good thing. Why is that?
Well, let’s take a look at a couple of the great things about being a geek:

1. We can always find a game to play no matter what. We are like the MacGyver of games. Give us a pen and paper and we’ll entertain ourselves and others.
2. We look good in glasses. Seriously, we do.
3. We are clever. Who was the one who everyone turned to on "Lost?" The doctor.
4. Speaking of doctors, we have Doctor Who. He’s smart, funny, has a time machine and is one of the biggest geeks in the universe.
5. We can balance a checkbook. Whether we use a computer program, our raw brain power or a good old-fashioned abacus, we will not be overdrawn.

Geek Pride Day is all about looking at the best parts of being a geek, so grab your towel, stick out your thumb and tell us what your plans are - or what you've already done - for Geek Pride Day.

Share your comments below, or go to our iReport page to submit your story.

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Filed under: Geek Out!


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March 26, 2010

Geek Out!: An old friend (or foe) in 'How to Train Your Dragon'

Posted: 03:39 PM ET

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From scifi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

“Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!” - slithery twist on a "Lord of the Rings" quotation

Through the years, we’ve come to know dragons as both friend and foe in literature and movies.

From Smaug, the riddle-spouting dragon who terrorized Lake Town in "The Hobbit," to Elliott, the overgrown, grinning dragon in “Pete’s Dragon" - and now Toothless, the lead dragon in "How to Train Your Dragon," the animated, 3-D movie released Friday - we love to geek out over our dragons.

We collect miniatures of them, play games with "dragon" in the name, read books about dragons and even have an entire convention with dragon in the name [Atlanta's DragonCon].

Fearsome, but often misunderstood, dragons always have played an important role in geek culture, working their way into our collective psyche. So, how do the dragons of today stack up to dragons of the past?

Let’s examine a few of the “top dragons.”

Draco in “Dragonheart” only wants to be left alone and not forced to become part of the evil boy-king’s life, literally. It turns out that the smooth-talking, last remaining dragon isn’t so bad after all.

In "Voyage of the Dawn Treader," Eustace Scrubb, a boy-turned-dragon, becomes a good guy [dragon] instead of the bully he was when he was human.

The dragons in the Harry Potter series are probably the fiercest of the modern dragons - the Chinese Firebolt, the Hungarian Horntail and the Norwegian Ridgeback. They are bred for fighting with very few redeeming qualities. [The obvious exception, of course, being Norbert, the dragon that Hagrid hatched from an egg.]

There is Saphira, the main dragon in the Inheritance cycle ["Eragon," "Eldest" and "Brisingr"] a kindly, loyal dragon that will fight to the death to keep her rider safe.

The newest dragon on the scene is Toothless from “How To Train Your Dragon”.

He’s feared by the Vikings until a young boy manages to show them that not only is Toothless a good dragon, but that all the others are as well.

The nice thing about seeing a movie on opening day, early in the morning, is that you get the theater all to yourself. In this case that was a good thing, since I found myself gasping and laughing out loud at the antics of the dragons in “How To Train Your Dragon”. Toothless has definitely become a top dragon on my list.

The dragons of today may be getting slightly cute and cuddly. But I’m still hiding all the bottles of ketchup just to be safe.

What do you think? Who are your favorite dragons of the past and today?

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Filed under: Geek Out! • Movies • pop culture


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March 19, 2010

Geek Out!: Still got game

Posted: 12:52 PM ET
Older gamers still got game
Older gamers still got game

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From scifi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's Marquee and SciTech blogs.

It’s been an epic week for gamers. First God of War III and then Starcraft beta news. As I trudge in to work today, a little worn out from last night’s Dol Guldur run, I can spot a few others who share the hallmarks of my gaming hobby.

As gamers in our 30s, we’re a little more otherworld-weary than the high school and college-aged kids who were waiting in line to buy God of War III Monday night. But as older gamers we keep coming back to the table. Why is that?

Here’s a conversation I bet a lot of us have had at one point in the last 10 years. Chat log:

ScaryGrrl: This game reminds me of Castle Wolfenstein!
Solereaper: What is that?
ScaryGrrl: Umm, a game, from the 80s.
Solereaper: Dude, how old are you?

Has gaming evolved to a point where it’s a surprise that someone my age would be as into a game as someone (clearly) 15 – 20 years younger than me?

No way! Older gamers still have plenty of game.

Back in the 70s when Atari introduced the 2600 console, we could nestle in the safety of our homes and play to our heart’s content without having to face the questions of “why do you play those things?” from our classmates and teachers.

The kids LARPing and playing D & D back then have become the adults who now embrace new technology in all its forms whether it be FPS games, MMO’s or console games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero.

The draw for gamers today is the same as it was back then: Escape. For a brief period of time you can be anyone, do anything. Back then it was a roll of the dice and you won the fight, got the loot and praise from your party. Today, all it takes is a few well-timed keyboard clicks and you can become the hero, get the best gear and have the adoration of your guild.

The best part about being an older gamer is the choice. Today there’s a buffet of nerdly delights. Games like WoW, Eve Online and Lord of The Rings Online offer the chance to become one of the characters we read about in grade school. I chose the chance to follow Frodo and his fellowship to Mount Doom. I started playing LoTRO in beta three years ago and I’m still hooked. We’ve made it to Mirkwood Forest and are marshalling the rangers to aid us in our fight.

Do you still have game? Do you notice a difference between younger and older gamers?

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Filed under: Geek Out!


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Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

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