To Geek or Not to Geek?

I was recently complimented on my geekiness.  I think the exact words were something along the lines of ‘you’re so cute with your little bands and kind of geeky, but not, and a little sci fi, but not…’  And I was very pleased at the compliment.  There’ s something about being geeky that is so much more delicate and polished than nerdiness, though I’m probably pretty nerdy too.

But I can understand geekiness or nerdiness as an entire self image can be unsettling.  I consider myself attractive, funny, witty, and genuinely nice, in addition to my smarts.  If I wasn’t those things as well, I might not be quite as open to being called a geek.  But still, a certain passion for mental exercise i think should be encouraged.

At MIT in particular, I think encouragement is the name of the game.  If you wanted something distinctly ungeeky, you would’ve gone someplace else.  It’s all about giving students a school they can identify with.  In a world of increasing interconnectedness, why not hang on to what makes you distinct?

Accidental Hijacking.

Ok, I may be a klutz and there may be times when I don’t know what I’m doing.  There may be times when my impulses are not good ones.  Heck, there are even times when I pull ridiculous stunts that were ill advised.  Thankfully though,  I still do have some limits.  I can honestly say I’ve never gotten drunk and tried to hijack an airplane.

There is something to be said for the continual development of the human race.  We can now grow ‘ghost hearts‘ which may someday mean transplants for those who need them.  The widespread availability of information via the interweb may actually be improving our smarts.  And yet feelosophy, as Tatyana Tolstaya would have it, is basically dead.  We are all of us sometimes foolish.  Most of us don’t even realize our lack of wisdom, and few, if any of us, are actively pursuing it in the modern world.  Have we actually gained anything then?

I would like to think that as life becomes easier for some of us that we would learn.  I would like to think that more time would give us the clarity to realize what we should value.  My life is full of many things, and I know it has value and impact and worth.  but at the same time, I know that all of these ‘things’ are not enough.  The best I can hope for is not to grow complacent enough to give up the search.

Spread the Word, Shake the Interweb

Today started as one of those days that was bound to be memorable.  The sun was shining, the leaves were turning, and the air was not quite to cold.  The world smells of briskness and new life, even if it is just a last flash in the pan before winter.  The world is waiting for all of us to scamper about, flinging limbs, in some final furious effort to enjoy ourselves before winter hibernation.  And I myself am ready to fling.

But there are other vibrations about as well.  Thanksgiving is coming up, the first marker of the holiday season, which is supposed to be all about gratitude, love, and sharing.  And what better way to begin the early edge of that season than with Blog Action Day, a day to really educate others on a single topic and hopefully do something about it. This year, the focus is on poverty.

And what can we say about it?  We are, after all, going through a financial crisis.  Many of those who were not feeling the bite of poverty now are.  And how are we, on the whole, responding?  Many of us are looking to the government for support.  Some of us are looking to each other, which is a start.  But I personally haven’t felt the bite too much.  And what have I been doing about it?  Very little.

I can remember first moving to Boston and being completely strapped for cash.  And yet, every week, I would put a little something aside to give away to people who might need it.  It might have been a small donation to a food pantry or a shelter.  It might have been just paying for a friend’s lunch.  But I remember those small expenses as something I couldn’t really afford, that I gave anyway.

Now that I’ve been steadily employed for several years, the savings all go somewhere else.  Sure, I make a much more sizable charitable donation every month, and I do still set aside some time to volunteer.  But by percentage, it’s nowhere near the same amount.  When you’re making ends meet, you don’t worry about setting aside money for health care or as savings.  Now that I actually have money and can afford nice things, I feel I’ve become much more materialistic and scroogy.

So where is the line drawn?  At what point do I stop spending for myself and start spending for others, or vice versa?  And how much do I try to save, even if in trust for those who will need it later?