Speak Out with Your Geek Out: Calling vs. Hobby

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The title for this post comes from Speak Out with Your Geek Out, something started by Monica Valentinelli to celebrate geekdom after a journalist got under her skin by making fun of geeks.

First, my geeks:

I read and write a lot.  I write 1-1.5K an hour; I read over a page a minute (on fiction).  I become lost in other worlds, which may or may not be inside a book.  I daydream to the point where I have a feeling like the one where your eyes are closed and you can feel someone’s finger an inch away from your forehead, feeling the pressure from that other world.  I imagine best while moving:  driving, walking, working out.  I sometimes find out that I am not where I thought I was, because I was elsewhere and my body kept moving.

I like to cook, but even better, I like to analyze cooking.  Mine, yours, anyone’s.  I throw about two cooking parties a year in which we find out how to make things we don’t know how to make.  Here’s the set of Valabar recipe’s from Stephen Brust’s Dzur that we did last year.  We did a Julie/Julia viewing, a Lunar New Year party, and coming up is recipes from my Cooking Cozy, YOUR SOUFFLE MUST DIE. This means I have to learn how to make reliable souffles at the very least, which I am both looking forward to and dreading.  I like going to restaurants where the food is better than anything I can currently make and challenging myself to figure out how it was done.  On the other hand, baking is an enigma to me.  I can do custards (including cheesecake) and few other basic things like quick bread and yeast bread, but after that, I flounder.  The basic problem is that I like to cook more than I do to bake (except cheesecake, which is worth it).

I play MMOs but not FPS; I have astigmatism, and the FPS make me nauseous.  I like rogue characters and big worlds without over-regimented plotlines; COH and LOTRO annoy me.  I’m looking forward to Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I mostly play to hang out with my spouse, but I do miss it when I’m away for too long.

I play sudoku, but it’s too addicting, so I have to cut back from time to time.  It cuts into my reading.

I like to tabletop game:  strangely, D&D is about my least favorite thing to play.  It’s just laborious.  I’m getting more into the GMing side of things; as I get to be a better writer, I’m getting better at that end of things, too.

Second, my not-geeks:

I’m trying to reconcile myself to the things that something inside me wants me to be a geek about, but I’m just not.

  • Gardening.
  • Music, playing of, and attending live concerts of.
  • Computer programming.
  • Crafts.
  • Watching videos, movies, etc., unless they’re related to my actual geeks.

There are probably more things, too, but they’re not coming to mind.  People can almost talk me into these things.  But it’s just not there.  When I do them, I enjoy doing them.  But I don’t go seeking them out.

Third, calling vs. hobby:

At the heart of all this is the question, “At what point is geekdom more valuable than it is ridiculous (and vice versa)?”

Some people would say, “Geekdom is always valuable and never ridiculous.”  But…then you get to the people who live in their parents’ basements after the age of 25 or who have given up a career because they spend too much time watching TV or going to conventions or whatever to be able to invest in their futures.  People who spend a lot of time doing the now and chasing the shiny.

Personally, I think where I break down is here:

If it’s a calling, you follow it.  If it’s a hobby, you screw around with it when you have nothing better to do.

If it’s a hobby that gets in the way of your calling, it’s ridiculous.

If it’s a calling and someone makes fun of you over it, @#$% ‘em.  I mean, you might need to be locked up.  But you certainly don’t need to be made fun of.

Posted on September 14th 2011 in The General Heap

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