Category Archives: Musings

And the Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth

I am a geek and proud of it.

Now what exactly is a geek, you might ask? Sure, most people have heard the word before; it is often used as a derogatory term that is interchangeable with words like nerd, dweeb and dork. However, nowadays more and more people are viewing the word geek in a positive light, and it has even become a source of pride for some people, like myself.

The word’s origins aren’t exactly positive though. Versions of  the word are present in various dialects such as Low German, Dutch and Afrikaans and they translate to fool, freak, or alternatively, crazy. How insulting is that? I mean, I may be a crazy freak, but I am definitely no fool.

Anyway, back to the definition. Well, not really, because in fact there is no clear-cut definition. It is a term whose meaning is constantly disputed. I could ask ten people to define the word “geek” for me and I would most likely receive ten different definitions, albeit with some similarities between them.

My personal definition of “geek” is a little complicated, but basically it amounts to a person who either has a wide variety of interests in the less socially acceptable subjects, or who has a specific area of interest within these subjects. And just to clarify, when I say “less socially acceptable subjects”, I mean things that are not considered “cool”, like Sci-Fi, Fantasy, video games, Anime, Star Trek, etc. I’m not talking about things that are really socially unacceptable like bestiality or public nudity. Just so we’re clear.

In addition, geeks tend to have a love for technology. They need not be master computer hackers or anything though; it’s the interest that counts. And it needn’t even involve computers either; many geeks have a love for the latest phone technology, cameras, tablets, MP3 players, TVs, etc. The list goes on. Why all the interest? Because first of all, gadgets and gizmos are fun to play with. Secondly, they are intricate and require in-depth knowledge to use to their fullest potential. And herein lies another key trait of the geek: Passion for knowledge.

Geeks are very passionate about their subject(s) of choice. Whether it be about books, games, movies, technology, etc., geeks love to analyze and theorize and discuss and debate.  They love to pick apart the minutiae of the subject at hand. In fact, the word “geek” is starting to refer to just about anyone with a passion for something. We’re seeing car geeks, sports geeks, art geeks, science geeks, blog geeks ;) , pretty much anything under the sun geeks. The word is truly evolving all the time.

Many people also tend to associate the term “geek” with someone who is antisocial, but I believe that to be false. While it’s true that many geeks (but not all) feel uncomfortable at the bar and club scenes, it’s not because they are unable to socialize with those around them, it’s just that this type of atmosphere holds little to no interest for them. Conversely, take a dancing party girl and plunk her in the middle of a group of geeks re-enacting Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch (“He’s not dead! He’s pining for the fjords!) or playing an MMORPG such as WOW (translation: Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game and World of Warcraft, respectively) and let’s see how uncomfortable and “antisocial” she becomes.

More and more, the word “geek” is being redefined to refer to someone who is individualistic, creative, intelligent, and moreover, as someone who is unafraid to show it.

Shirt says: "Hello, my name is: Leerooooooooooy Jenkins. (At least I have chicken)"
It takes a true geek to understand this joke.

I believe that most people are more geeky than they’d care to admit. To them I say, take pride in your uniqueness! Dress up as a Star Wars character, wear T-shirts emblazoned with in-jokes, discuss the logic of the plot of the Lord of the Rings (why couldn’t the eagles just fly them to Mount Doom already?). The point is, you’re allowed to like these things, even if many people think it makes you “uncool”.  A little eccentricity never hurts. And hey, the more people who actually admit to liking these things, the cooler these things become in all of society, not just within the world of geeks.

And you’ll see, soon enough that world of geeks will be named… Earth. (mwahaha)

See? Don't these geeks look happy? Maybe one more so than the others...

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You’re Such a Hypnic Jerk!

I had a five second dream the other night. It consisted of me walking and then slipping on the curb of a sidewalk, followed by that gut-wrenching, heart-stopping feeling that you are about to fall. Of course, seeing as I was in bed, I wasn’t actually falling, but my body wasn’t going to have any of that, of course, and it decided to jerk all crazily in an attempt to keep itself upright, which doesn’t make sense because I wasn’t upright to begin with. In any case, I was violently awoken by all the fuss and was left with my heart pounding away in my chest as if I had just narrowly cheated death somehow. I hate it when this happens.

Perhaps you have experienced this occurrence yourselves? Roughly 70 percent of people do after all. This occurrence has a name you know, and that name is hypnagogic myoclonic twitch. But that’s a bit of a mouthful, so people usually just refer to it as a “hypnic jerk”.  Not to be confused with a “hippie jerk”, which is an entirely different issue.

I love that its name sounds like an insult. I can shake my fist in outrage at it yelling “You damn hypnic jerk!” and it feels like I’ve managed to put it in its place. It’s very satisfying.

Now you may be wondering why these damn hypnic jerks even occur in the first place. Well, apparently the experts are still not completely sure why the body does this, but they believe it to be a natural part of the sleeping process. They believe that as the muscles begin to relax and go slack right as you are falling asleep, the brain can misinterpret this and think you’re falling down. Then it basically freaks out. In an attempt to save you from falling, the brain sends signals to the muscles in your arms and legs and gives them a big ol’ twitch, thus awakening you from your sound slumber.

Now I’d like to know why the brain is misinterpreting these signals in the first place. Is it just too lazy to put forth the effort? Is it just a weird short-circuit that takes place? Or is it something more sinister? Maybe the brain is the real jerk here and it just enjoys kicking us awake just as we’re about to nod off. Yeah, that’s probably it. You heard it here first, folks. Our brains are little sadists. What’s even worse is that apparently hypnic jerks occur more frequently in people who are uncomfortable and having trouble sleeping, or in those who are already sleep deprived to begin with. See? Only a sadistic jerk would trick an insomniac into waking up, just as he or she was falling asleep.

Well then, it looks like the so-called “experts” have been fooled in the end. Our brains aren’t making us spasm to “save us from falling”. They’re just assholes.

The brain

Oh and lookie here! Another brain that's a jerk. Coincidence? I think not.

 

 


I Think This is the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

Well let’s see, it’s been two days now since my last post. I feel naughty guilty. When I started this blog, I told myself I’m going to post something everyday, no matter what! Even if I don’t feel like it, even if it doesn’t make sense, even if it’s not very good, blah, blah, blah.

I lied, apparently. But know what? While I do feel a little bad for not keeping my promise to myself, I also feel so much better about this whole blog thing. It was really starting to feel like a chore that had to be done or else! Or else what, you might ask? I don’t know, honestly. It was just kind of a vague threat to try to keep myself motivated. Because there’s nothing scarier to a person with a vivid imagination, like myself, than a vague threat after all. It was like Oooo, what’s gonna happen if I don’t write? Probably nothing; but maybe, just maybe, something might happen. Something bad… Yes, all my vivid imagination came up with was “something bad”. Go figure.

But recently, I started to wonder if maybe it wouldn’t be bad at all. Maybe it would be, dare I say, good? I know, I know, the detail and the imagery in this post are astounding aren’t they? I really amaze myself sometimes. I think I should take it up a notch though. So…

Hmmm, interesting, I thought to myself as I stroked my non-existent beard, as one does when one finds something interesting. What could happen if I don’t write for a day or two? Maybe I’d return to find my blog a barren wasteland, devoid of followers who had lost faith in me for not returning. On the other hand, maybe I’d return to find people clamouring for more, desperate for some more of my random ramblings.  Or maybe neither of these things. The possibilities were endless. That’s right, in my world, endless possibilities is equivalent to three.

I was a little hesitant to return, fearful of what I might find… Not really, actually. I mean, it was only two days, so I really didn’t expect anything to change. And I was right. The End.

Oh wait, I forgot to say that the point of all this is that now I feel better about missing a day or two here and there. So in the future, please don’t expect to hear from me every day. I know, it’s sad. You’re allowed to shed one tear of grief, but then you need to be strong. I’ll be back after all. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life! (insert ominous laugh) Here’s looking at you, kid – er, I mean, dear readers!


Essential Tips for a Successful Interview

Almost everyone goes through at least one interview in their lifetime and it can be a stressful event, even for the most well-prepared of people. I myself have been through several of these oh-so-fun experiences and have learned many useful tips in the process.

There are subtle ways of influencing an interviewer into seeing you as a great potential candidate, whether you are or not. Just follow these 6 easy tips and there’s no way you can lose.

***

1. Prepping for the interview

Before even heading out the door, it is important to prepare yourself for your interview. While casual clothing, like your tattered jeans and your humorous novelty t-shirt, are comfortable and awesome looking, it is best to dress in business, or at least business-casual attire. Otherwise, the interviewer will become jealous of your comfy and stylish clothing and they may not hire you out of spite. In addition, be sure to have minty fresh breath in case the interviewer is a close-talker, or in case they fall in love with you and want to have an impromptu make-out session (this is a good sign that you’ll be hired).

Job Interview

Dress as stylish as this guy, and you too can work in a green office with a ghost and a snazzy conference room.

2. The handshake

This is your first point of contact with your interviewer. It can make or break the whole thing. When the interviewer offers you his or her hand, this is not a signal to give them a high-five. In addition it would be against your best interest to slip them some cash (at this point anyway; get a better feel for them first). Just give them a nice firm handshake; not limp, like a gross dead fish, flopping into their hand. Conversely, breaking all the bones in the interviewer’s hand with your iron grip may seem like a good idea at first – it shows how strong you are after all – but this is also ill-advised. You don’t want to make the interviewer feel inferior after all.

3. Take a seat

When the interviewer offers you a seat, I advise against taking their chair home with you. It is nice of them to offer it to you and all, but it’s more of a token gesture than anything else. Just wait for the them to offer it to you and then sit down. This conveys that you are declining to take the chair as a gift, but still shows that you like it and find it comfortable. It is considered impolite to do otherwise.

4. The questions

Most interviewers like to begin by asking you to tell them about yourself. This is your chance to shine. While some people like to go on at length about their amazing life experiences and accomplishments, like the time you ate 30 hot dogs without vomiting, or the time you blacked out and woke up naked in a strange apartment with a hobo, a chihuahua and 20 cartons of eggs, it’s best if you stick to the boring events regarding your education, training and work experience. The interviewer will be wanting to read all the exciting stories on your Facebook page later anyway, so they don’t want to be spoiled beforehand.

For the rest of the questions, just tell them exactly what they want to hear. For example:

  • Why do you want to work for us? Because you are the best at what you do and it’s been my life’s dream to work for this company. (I find that flattery can go a long way here; you might want to throw in words like “magnificent”, “amazing”, and “outstanding”)
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? I sincerely hope that I still work for this breathtaking company (again, flattery) without having received a raise or a promotion. (Any mention of them not having to spend more money on you is a bonus)
  • Tell me your greatest strength. My greatest strength is that I get things done no matter what. I will move mountains, part the seas, dig valleys and plant forests if need be to reach my goal. (Usage of hyperbole can be a nice way to show your creativity).
  • Tell me your greatest weakness. My greatest weakness is that I’m too humble. I’m the perfect employee after all, but I am never able to admit it. (The trick here is to take a positive aspect of yourself and make it sound negative. This will catch the interviewer off guard because they’ve most likely never come across this tactic before)

5. Eye contact

It is important to maintain eye contact at all times. This is crucial in an interview. If you keep looking at the floor or the ceiling, the interviewer will either become distracted and curious about what you seem to be studying so intently and start studying it themselves – they’re only human, after all – or they will think you’re hiding something, such as the fact that you’re slightly cross-eyed. It’s better to just get it out in the open right from the start; they might even feel pity for you and give you bonus points for it.

6. Your questions

It is always best to have a question or two to ask the interviewer at the end. To not ask questions shows that you’ve understood everything completely and are now showing off your intelligence to the interviewer. They don’t like that. Just play dumb and ask them to repeat something they already explained in detail, such as the duties of the position. Another option is to ask a strange convoluted question such as “If this company was a train travelling at 100 mph, and your rival company was a bus travelling at 80 mph, which one is more likely to crash and burn?” This will likely confuse the interviewer, but they will also respect you for challenging their intellect in such a manner.

***

And there you have it, dear readers! The next time you have an interview, follow these guidelines and you can’t go wrong. To deviate from these however is sure to lead to certain disaster, so tread carefully my friends.

Oh, and as a last tip, remember to smile… even if your grin makes you look like the Joker who’s about to kill Batman. It’s still better than your usual blank stare that makes you look like the voices are talking to you again.

I wish you the best of luck in all your future interviews. Unless I’m going for the same position as well. In that case, I wish you to fail miserably.


Happy Birthday To Me!

Birthday Cake

Mmmmm... Cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s right, dear readers, today is my birthday. I am now 25 years old. That’s one-quarter of a century, halfway to 50. I’m not sure if it should or not, but it doesn’t feel any different from any other birthday.

I find it funny how when you’re a kid, each birthday is extremely significant and a source of pride, as if suddenly going from 7 to 8 years old is a great accomplishment. Kids are very aware of their age and the ages of the other kids around them, because when you’re that age, that’s usually how the social hierarchy is decided. The older kids are the ones in charge and they get to do things that the younger ones can’t.

When you’re an adult, all of that changes. Your age begins to have less and less to do with your social or professional status. A 50-year-old person can just as easily be the subordinate to one of 30 years of age as not.

Also, the addition of one year or two of age begins to have less and less impact on our appearance. It’s easy to tell the difference between a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old, but can you tell the difference between someone who is 45 and 47? Maybe you can, but I sure can’t.

So, just to reiterate, 25 doesn’t feel any different from 24…. However, cake and presents are always good so I’m going to enjoy this day all the same!

I’m going to leave you now with the number one songs of 25 years ago on the date of April 4th, 1987. Why, you ask? Because it’s fun, that’s why ;)

In the US, it was Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, which you may remember from the classic 80’s movie, Mannequin.

And in the UK, the number one song at the time was a cover of “Let It Be”, performed by Ferry Aid, a British-American ensemble group brought together in the aftermath of the Zeebrugge Disaster.

You just gotta love that 80’s hair!


Take It All In

I’m going to start off by saying that I’m going to do this entry a little different from my weird, wacky usual. Talking about broccoli as evidence that pigs can fly and dying anthropomorphic birds is fun and all (it really is!), but sometimes I like to tone it down a bit to try to fool people into thinking that I’m at least somewhat normal. So let’s begin, shall we?

***

Today was a really nice day. That seems like a somewhat strange topic for a blog entry, doesn’t it? I mean, nothing particularly exciting happened; I didn’t come across anything out of the ordinary, or even meet anyone new. It was simply a really nice day.

It was sunny and warm, and I managed to take a nice long walk along the waterfront. There aren’t many days when I actually stop and take in everything around me. Even though I’ve only been in the city of Kelowna for about 6 months, I’ve already started taking all the amazing scenery for granted. How is that even possible? There are mountains, forests and a giant beautiful lake basically right outside my front door!  And when I say “giant”, I mean it. Okanagan Lake has a surface area of 351 km² (135.5 mi²) so it’s kind of hard to miss.

I snapped a few pictures with my phone to share; the quality isn’t great and I’m no photographer, but you can still see that it’s a sight to behold.

I even stopped to take a closer look at things that I normally would have just walked past.

Loch Ness has the legend of Nessie. Okanagan Lake has the legend of Ogopogo.

Most days, I would never have stopped to read this, but I'm glad I did. It's really quite beautiful and profound.

Even the ducks were out in full force today.

People in general tend to overlook the things that surround them once they’ve become accustomed to them. It’s just human nature; when there’s change, we adapt, and anything that was previously amazing to us simply becomes mundane.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. One can open one’s eyes and learn to appreciate everything once again; all you need is the desire to do so.

That’s why I’m so grateful that I decided to start writing and join the blogging community. In an effort to discover things to blog about, I have managed to open my eyes once again and really look at the world around me; and with the amount of talented bloggers out there, especially those who have an eye for photography (I particularly liked Frivolous Monsters‘ pics of Manchester), it’s hard not to.

Posting pictures like this most likely won’t become the norm for me. Like I said earlier, I’m no photographer and my camera just doesn’t do the scenery justice anyway. But I really did have a great time today doing this, so who knows what the future will bring?

In the end, I’m just thankful that everyone has been so supportive and encouraging. I really didn’t expect this blog of mine to go anywhere, yet today I managed to surpass 500 all-time views (which I know doesn’t seem like a lot to many of you; a lot of people get that or more on a daily basis, but to me it’s a tremendous accomplishment). And now, I get to look out of my apartment window and realize that I’ve got it pretty good:

Can you believe that I stopped noticing this view?


We’re All a Little Weird…

I truly hope that everyone can find someone with whom they can fall into mutually satisfying weirdness, myself included :)


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