...a geek. I've been one for years but never really knew it or truly understood what it "meant". I guess you could say it all started with a pencil and a piece of ripped out notebook paper. Other kids would draw football stars or tricked out hot-rods, (mind you I could draw flaring side pipes and mega-dragster wheels with the best of them). My drawings would invariably depict some mass invasion by the triangle spaceship horde against me with my modified wave motion gun (props to Starblazers). My mother still has those drawings packed away somewhere, god bless her.
When I was a kid, on Sundays after church, I would get my parents to drop me off at our county library. *This was in the days before parents worried about their child being abducted by some evil psycho. This was the biggest library in the area, it held about 300,000 volumes with reference material of all sorts (encyclopedia volumes, microfiche, almanacs, etc.). This was my world wide web, before their was one. Any subject that I felt compelled to look up; I would go to the card catalog, pull out the long drawer, flip through the cards and find a book. Then I would travel to that particular section of the library and find that particular book, but I would inevitably find other books around that book that interested me as well, or books that were on other shelves close to that book, or books that caught my eye on my way to that book or back to my seat after I found that book and others on a particular subject. I know you understand.
My first episodes of 'Doctor Who' (with Tom Baker) are a fond memory as well. Even though some of the special effects were incredibly cheesy; I was mesmerized and hooked every Saturday afternoon. My Saturday afternoon ritual was Doctor Who with a bowl of cold spaghettio's and a can of RC Cola. Thanks, mom.
Then came computers, specifically the Commodore 64. I had to hook it up to my 13' TV and it came with a floppy disk unit the size of a mailbox, but i thought it was the coolest. When my friend Phan showed me some programming and what you could do with it (make games!). I was astounded.
But then, I turned my back on it all. My attention went to girls, and friends, and teenage things. I wanted to fit in, be cool, hang out. I didn't have time for programming, or hardware, or libraries so much anymore. I was in the middle of a new age of information and I watched it all go by in the periphery. Sure, I used the technology, bought the game consoles, got a cell phone, bought a computer. But, at the time, I didn't have the curiosity about them; their capabilities, what made them work.
The internet, the web, and one small magazine in particular, changed all that for me. I discovered 2600. Slowly, over time, I began to "feel" that niggling curiosity again and now I had a means to find any information on any topic within milliseconds or read about people who questioned the status quo and drew back the veil of technology ignorance. It opened up my mind again I discovered that I like knowing how things work, again.
So here I am. For me, being a "geek" is that thread of curiosity that, if there from the beginning, no matter how thin it becomes, is still strong enough to bring you back into the fold. I am a geek, I am proud of it, and everything old is new again. Peace.