Sunday, March 20, 2011

Geek4Lyfe: From Cradle to Grave

I need a "Getting Real with Saz" post. Since I'm not feeling ranty, you won't get the one post I've been working on for a while now, and instead you'll simply get story time. And you'll like it. Blankets and teddy-bears are optional. Footy pajamas however are mandatory.

Growing up, I always tried to be one of those cool kids. Matter of fact, for most of my adolescence I was under the delusion that I was one of those cool kids, and that the other kids in the "popular group" just didn't see it. In hindsight I have to wonder what my younger counterpart really considered cool about myself. I mean, I was a ginger who at the time was covered in facial freckles, sporting overly large purple glasses, had one hell of a version of the family's gap tooth smile, and suffered from some rather odd social quirks around my peers (it was called being horribly shy). Sure, I was that tough tomboy who didn't take shit from anyone and could hold my own with the boys on the playground, but apparently the other kids will only fear you, not like you. What in my child's mind made me decide that was cool?

Honestly, my geekdom started way before I even realized it. When I was very little, I was the type of child who insisted on wearing cute little dresses, only to turn around and grab my dinosaurs, dust being kicked up by my heals as I headed to the nearest sand mount. After a few years I got into books (I was in love with the Thoroughbred series, the Animorphs series, and even had a brief stint with Goosebumps though that didn't last long; never did like being scared) and the glasses that came with the territory of developing an astigmatism just added to it.

Enter middle school, when we were given the option to walk over to the public middle school for band class. You see, I was in a Catholic school, and our music classes ended in the 5th grade. At 6th grade we had the option of taking band, and I thought to myself "Only dorks participate in band." and I scoffed at my friends for participating in the class. Even though I had already shown decent promise in the ways of music, I shunned it before I gave it a shot. I know what you're all thinking: "Omg! U went to Catholic school? piks!" Yes I did, and yes I had a uniform until the 7th grade. You cannot have pictures you perv, because I was eleven. If an eleven year old in a black plaid skirt turns you on, you may need to seek mental help.

...anyways. Jump to 7th grade, in a new town and a new school. This school too was Catholic, but didn't require uniforms (it took me until highschool to develop a sense of fashion that didn't leave me feeling like a dork who was stuck in the early 90s) and it had a music program right there in the facility. Now, I had a choice when I went there; either take band, or join some nature science thing, which did field trips to swamps to play with frogs and the hell did I choose band? Regardless, I gave it a shot despite starting two years behind everyone else.

The day I got my clarinet I geeked so extremely hard. My view on band flipped a complete 180 within the span of a few minutes. I wanted to take this thing out to recess with me. I wanted to tote it into every classroom, put together outside of its case of course. I was in love.

I was self taught and I struggled. I didn't have years worth of practice and/or lessons like my peers. Even through the frustration, my geekisms prevailed. I practiced; I spent lunch periods in the band room, and then went home to squawk up a storm there as well. Band hour was my favorite part of my day. I love my teacher - seriously, she was awesome. And one day during rehearsal, we were working on a piece. She had our one and only bass clarinetist play one of his parts for what I believe was Pink Panther Meets the Flintstones. So he played his little line, she smiles and says "Man, I love the sound of a bass clarinet." I thought about this, and listened to him more closely whenever I could actually hear him play. I realized that I sort of had a love thing going on with the growly little low end instrument. Unfortunately it wasn't until high school that my music experimentations began.

Jump to the summer before high school. I wanted to do band, but band came at a price. If you weren't participating in a fall sports function, you had to join...dun dun DUN!!!!...marching band. Enter anti-geek panic mode. Both my best friend and I were desperately looking for ways out of marching band. We searched high and low, and even considered attempting to join the dance team...though how the pair of us would have managed to get onto the dance team is beyond me, having about the experience equal to that of hyperactive turtles in a rave between the two of us as far as actual dancing was concerned. So with much grumbling and cringing, we ended up going to our first day of "Band Camp."

Hush your snarky remarks.

Lo and behold, we both ended up loving it by the end of our first game. Yes, football was horribly boring, but all the hooting, hollering, and the procession back where we had a massive 15 minute drum circle thing under our entry canopy was a tiring blast to say the least. We were hooked and were there to stay. Later on we pitied the dance team in their skimpy outfits in the 20 degree weather. We had cozy wool uniforms after all, and Mountie hats with giant red feathers sticking out the backs.

So began my music affair of my high school years. I had an amazing band instructor who let me jump around on instruments (I ended up on bass clarinet that first year, once we switched from marching season to concert season; later on ended up picking up alto saxophone/tenor saxophone/baritone saxophone/bass drum for marching season and eventually settling on Eb alto contra bass clarinet for concert seasons) and I managed to wiggle my way up into our top band, which during my junior/senior year was invited to play out at Carnegie hall. I participated in our state solo and ensemble competitions (usually ensembles, I hated soloing anything), did pep band, did symphonic band, participated in at least two school musicals (Guys and Dolls, and I want to say West Side Story) and even eventually joined up with the orchestra on cello. The most fun I had in high school? Putting on an Eric Whitacre concert. Please, allow me to geek and proceed to link you youtube pages that will enlighten you all to the pure win that is Eric Whitacre. We had a huge concert, which if I remember correctly also included our orchestra and our choirs from the school. The pieces that I recall playing - there were many, but my memory is horrible - were Godzilla Eats Los Vegas which came complete with screams and a giant projection in the background of Godzilla himself, Sleep, which I think all three branches of the music depo were in on, and of course, Ghost Train. For Ghost Train we decked out the stage in black lights, glow sticks (we needed light for our music!), body paint, and of course fog machines. We did not however perform Equus, which breaks my geeky little heart. Equus to me is like the holy grail of Eric Whitacre compositions, and is basically the one piece of music that could probably bring me back into music, if only for one concert. Every time I listen to Equus, I get chills. Not to mention, Eric Whitacre is such a hunk. I mean he's talented, has long, amazing hair...he's just...*sigh*

Excuse me, I was having a musical wet (day)dream there for a second. Pardon me while I clean up a bit...

Where was I? Right, band geekdoms. I fell for them hard and uh...sorry, I was listening to Equus in the background. I got distracted.

So, my music career followed me into college. I continued on with marching band, despite the university's marching band being horribly compared to the one I was used to. Eventually I declared a music major, first in percussion, eventually in upright bass (yup, still an orch dork). Somewhere in there I became an art person, so even though I switched departments, I still lived in the music department because...well, all my friends where there. Art people are kinda weird anyways, and not in the fun, hyperactive perverted way that band kids are. Art students are creepy maaaaan.

Right, I should probably relate this back to gaming somehow. So...yeah. High school I was a band geek/orch dork/wanna be artsy fartsy "goth" kid. I didn't have internet until almost my junior year. My gaming world consisted of Super Nintendo - of which I play a mighty mean Super Metroid and nothing else really - and the original The Sims game, no expansions. Oh, and I dabbled in Civilization.

It wasn't until college that I had a semi-decent laptop and managed to get my paws on World of Warcraft. I tried a year or so earlier to get into WoW, but sadly my noobiness was so strong that I had purchased the Warcraft III battle chest instead of the basic World of Warcraft box. I was honestly off to a great start in my gaming geek career. Once I did manage to purchase WoW and really get into it (some 1-2 years after having bought the vanilla version) it was over for me. I was hooked, and my geek score went from being over 9000 on the band kid scale to over 9000 on the total life scale.

You see, outside of the occasional venture with my SNES, the few major stints involving Pokemon, and musicisms, I never considered myself a geek. I wasn't the type to geek over movies, I only watched Star Trek out of boredom, I couldn't stand Star Wars (though I LOVED ewoks as a child, go figure), and I never understood tabletop RPG gaming, which apparently one of my exes was heavily into and I never realized it. Until I began my adventures in Azeroth, I was one of those cool kids. I was a badass. I hung with the stoner kids even though I wasn't one, and no one at school ever really messed with me since I didn't stir up the drama (it wasn't because I beat up kids, like in elementary school...people actually seemed to like me in high school/college).

My geekdar was apparently broken.

I hung out with the geekiest kids ever, because they were usually the most fun. I never felt apart of their world, but I was always on the edge despite the stigmas. Then World of Warcraft opened up the flood gates for me...

Now-a-days I find myself immersing myself into geek culture. Art, band geekisms, videos (youtube, you're a trap!), games, books, everything that is good in life apparently falls under the umbrella of "geek." To what friends I had back in high school and even in college, it seems as if I have caught the plague. My family doesn't understand it. In some ways I feel shunned from the people I used to spend copious amounts of time with, but on the other hand I have met and bonded with some of the most fantastic people in the world.  I think that only fellow geeks can truly realize how amazing it is to give into that inner squeal that is a geekasm, and only fellow geeks shall understand the amazingness that lies in the artistic talents of others, and only other geeks will understand why the slaying of internet dragons is such a fun pass time.

As I am beginning to grow older, I'm slowly learning to accept and embrace my inner geek, instead of trying to shun her and lock her away as society would prefer me to do. While this may exile some people in my life, I'm strangely alright with that. My geekdom opens up new doors through which I may interact with amazing folks whom I may have simply over looked while I was in my old pack of people. New folks and their ideas are never a bad thing. Matter of fact, they help bring fresh air into an otherwise rather stale life.

My name is Saz and I have been a geek since the day I was born, and shall continue on being a geek 'til the day I die.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go watch some Firefly and/or Reboot. *Pushes up glasses.*

This concludes another rambling by Saz. I'd like to take a second to /wave at my current scrapers! HELLO SCRAPERS!! If you're seeing this article on another site other than on serenitysaz.blogspot aka World of Saz, stop on by my actual site. It's much more cozy over here ; )


  1. Heh, Nothin wrong with the inner geek. Funny how in the old days it was a derisive term. Yet now far more accepted and embraced. Oh ya..YOU ROCK for watchin FireFly! Best SF series I've ever gotten into.

  2. I think that listening to your inner geek and embracing it may possibly be one of the keys to happiness. It still seems to be a bit of a negative term, but thankfully the geek culture is widely much more accepted now.

    Haha, thanks. Yes, Firefly is absolutely amazing. My obsession is so sick that I named a guild after it (sadly, Battle of Serenity stopped flying a little under a year ago), I named one of my mounts Malcolm - which is kind of dirty now that I think about it, and I have a very cute human Paladin named Kaelei, who is of course an engineer. I also spent copious amounts of gold on buying myself the firefly pet in game, since I couldn't get the bugger to drop in Zangarmarsh.

    Yes, major geekisms GO! : D

  3. HEY! YOU! NOT ALLLLLLL art majors are creeps ok? 3/4th of them? Yes. The other 1/4 are weird green liberals. I was just an odd ball. =D

    Also, John tells me being geeky is cool now. I'm not entirely sure I believe him. But after a certain point I think being cool is what you personally think is cool.

    P.S. Have you watched Big Bang Theory yet? You'd love it they are always talking about Firefly.

  4. Yes, there is like the cool 1/4 of the art school population that is alright. Besides the random oddball like you, most of the ones I liked were either older women or band kids. All the rest of that department though made me go D: True story.

    John is a different level of geek. I don't trust his judgment! I don't think that the general "popular/jock" ring accepts geekiness on the whole as of yet, but at least in the other social ranks it's much more accepted these days.

    I still have not! I must remedy this soon...

  5. But really, who is more a looser after high school? Geeks or "popular/jock" rings? Usually popular/jock type of people tend to be stuck in high school or college for the rest of their lives anyway. After a while, it is just like grew up already buddy. Whereas the geeks and nerds are constantly evolving and learning. I mean who came up with things like FTW? Certainly not popular/jocks but they sure they use it don't they? So now who is "cooler"?

  6. Haha, it's true! If we broadly generalize, typically the jocks get stuck in the chuckle head/frat boy lifestyle once they hit college. While some of them manage to move on to better things after college, most seem to go downhill afterwards...geeks on the other hand? They seem to run the world later in life. Top dog role reversal go!

    After high school/college *most* of those stigmas thankfully seem to more or less dissolve.

    While the popular kids will of course never admit to it, they take all the things that go viral in the geek world (or any circle for that matter) and make themselves "cooler" by using it and claiming it as their own. Such as it is with trends. I'll blame the hipsters : P