Monday, February 4, 2013

getting their geek on


GETTING THEIR GEEK ON

Normally this would be one of those subjects that warrants about a quarter of an article at most, but today when I got to work the Internet connection was down.  So I’m immediately writing rather than surfing.  And guess what?  First thing in the morning I’m usually devoid of most great earth shattering ideas.  Usually, I drink a half pot of coffee, minimum, read all my normal sites for an hour, then let it all simmer in my subconscious for about two hours before lunchtime writing, then I’ve pulled a smelly hairy idea out of my butt.  I don’t pay for Internet, so work’s sometimes less than perfect connection is what I use.  Hey, I love all of you minions, other than that bitch who owes me $20, and last year you all did great on the Amazon commissions and book buying.  I averaged $200 a month and spent about $85 of that on books.  So I’m certainly not complaining about the reader support ( it was double the year before, but that was also with the Bison Survival Blog going seven days a week ), but I also have to keep my costs very low or that support evaporates.  An Internet connection would eat up most of my profit.  So, anyway, about the only thing that was banging around in my head was from my recent reading of the Neil Stephenson book “Some Remarks”.  The book was a compilation of all his short work published elsewhere.  Not the greatest, EXCEPT!  The one thing that made the purchase price worth it was his something like 30k word essay on everything you didn’t know about underwater cable.  Totally fascinating and very well written ( I think the title was “Mother Earth, Mother Board, but don’t quote me on that.  It might be available at Wired ).

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Which tied in with another chapter on joyfully embracing your geekness.  Boiled down, it basically says that nowadays, we are all geeks.  It is just that the subject matter is different.  All geeks are not into computers or math ( boring! ).  Some do the Civil War reenactment thing, others might have a layman’s education on the Byzantine Empire that surpass most professors, others are duplicating the military’s drone building.  It doesn’t matter what it is, what makes you a geek is that in one subject you are passionate about something to the point you know more about it than almost anybody else except fellow enthusiasts.  And more often than not, it isn’t your paid job.  It what keeps you sane in an otherwise dull and grey corporate drone world of mindless consumerism.  He even specifically mentions Robert Heinlein and the old school “master at all trades” as being hopelessly obsolete.  With the advances in knowledge it is about impossible to know anything more than one topic in intricate detail.  Note, he isn’t saying a generalist is a bad idea, just that 99% of us don’t do things that way.  We know just enough to get our paycheck jobs done, then devote all our mental energies to our passion.

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Yet another chapter talked about the death of “big projects”, but surprise, he made no mention of the energy supply equation and blamed it all on risk eversion built into our culture.  I didn’t agree with this one, but we are talking about a one time cyberpunk author.  And no matter how pessimistic their world seems, perpetual dark amidst the neon ala Blade Runner, at heart it is merely economics that causes inequality in their world.  Well, okay, it is heavy on the “brains will prosper”, but like most other sci-fi it just assumes a future of thousand year frack oil or whatever fantasy works to fuel the place.  But THAT brings us looping back around to being geeks.  Neil is a computer geek with enough other geekiness thrown in to be rather well rounded and write very good novels.  But one thing he isn’t is a survivalist geek.  Neither is 99.9% of the population.  Here is where us geeks of all stripes get into trouble.  Most of the time, we are well behaved, our socks match in color, and Suzy in the next cubicle is blissfully unaware of our clandestine studies in The Dark Side.  As soon as we do something to inadvertently dispel her notions, trouble starts.  Most of you would call it operational security screw up, Neil might call it “outing your geek subject”.  Most other people don’t want to know your passionate life study subject.  They could give two craps if you race model airplanes or have memorized every stat down through the history of baseball ( actually, that is a pretty safe subject with a potential to appeal to half the population.  Or at least it was.  I’m grateful, along with all the other nerds out there, that there is much less of a stigma attached to declaring your utter and complete loathing of all things organized sports these days.  Finally, diversity compulsion is paying dividends ) or whatever.

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But survivalism is a geek subject fraught with media generated uneasiness.  You have the usual “I have my thing, I don’t care about your thing” added to the whole gun and innocents slaughtering details that freak most people out.  We can debate for hours about the anthropology behind group violence, add in some gender bias as a basis for reproductive advantage, talk about the usefulness or not of older people, be totally fascinated by it all, and a stranger walking in just hears we want to kill off “worthless eaters”.  He has absolutely no background in any of the details, nor will he listen to them.  THAT is the reason we are hated and feared, simply the lack of any interest in learning the details.  And there is no “public education” possible to non-believers.  They have their geek subject and it is not ours.  They have no time or interest in changing to our geek club.  The argument “it will save their life” is worthless, because until they learn the details, they won’t believe you, and they won’t learn the details because they are not that kind of geek.  So don’t waste any of your time.

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6 comments:

  1. www.wiggy.com
    All members of my immediate family have a Wiggy's
    Hunter Ultima Thule sleeping bag rated minus 20F.
    If the wet bag is your only shelter it will keep you warm while your body heat dries the bag. That feature can save your life. How long can you survive without shelter at 50F, your clothes soaked with rain, and no dry clothes available?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vlad;

      We all know that you are a huge fan of Wiggy's and their outdoor sleeping consumer products, but I go one further than you: How long can a drunk survive in -5 degrees with only light trousers, shoes and a short sleeve cotton shirt and no shelter? My answer from personal experience is all night, if the drunk remembers, the paramount truth that if one keeps moving then, while cold miserable and otherwise out of luck and a clue, then this drunk can survive without something as cool and expensive as a Wiggy's consumer product.

      Delete
  2. Jimbo,

    FYI, only thing selling on the evil black poodle rifle side is ammo. I had 500 Wolf, sold them for $250. And that was to a friend. I think I paid maybe .23 each. No one wants mags unless they are PMags. This is private sales. Gun shows are different.

    Also Craigslist wants a home phone or cell phone contract now before accepting new posting. No prepaid cell numbers work. Somabitch...

    And I got a Wiggy. Nice bag. If you are looking for a sleeping bag, either a Wiggy or a USGI are your best bets. The price of wool blankets are crazy high.

    I think that the ammo shortage is from the gov mass ammo buying and also all the wannabes trying at the last minute to stock up on ammo.

    I'm thinking that EVERYONE should get all the food they want to have. Imagine this ammo craze with shortage of food.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, most folks are too smart to buy the rifles? Makes sense- no ammo, possible confiscations. Smarter than I thought?

      Delete
  3. Okay, Vlad you could at least pretend that you are commenting on the post.

    I have to give you kudos on this one oh great one. I never looked at this way. I have just figured that the thought of no quick mart, no tv and eeveryone trying to kill you for your pot of lousy beans was some kind of turn off for most people. One more reason to not tell anyone what I really think!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Another top post, Jim.

    It's probably been mentioned before but this "shooting the messenger" bizzo (your last two paragraphs) has me tearing my hair out, almost.
    Perhaps my colleagues are particularly stupid...but any discussion of Collapse is immediately interpreted as you (insert your name) demanding that other folks change their behaviour and the result is polite silence or anger. It doesn't matter how carefully you phrase it, or then saying, "No, please! You don't understand! I'm trying to tell you that EVENTS will force you to do things differently!!!"...the result is the same.

    You do your readers an enormous service, Jim. Nobody wants to hear our rubbish and we can quietly indulge in our Dark Side without feeling too crazy. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete