What’s your non-obvious geekiness?

We talk a lot about computer programming, science fiction, gaming, and the like here, but I know that many of us have other geeky interests.

So, two questions for you all!

  1. What is your secret, unknown, or at least uncommon geekiness?
  2. Recommend a geeky movie that is not science fiction!

Answer in the comments; I’ll do the same.

61 thoughts on “What’s your non-obvious geekiness?

  1. Erica

    * Ornithology
    * Sneakers – or any heist movie ever, really because of the hyper focus on security systems, clever workarounds, social engineering, and logic problems. This one has a rad Braille terminal though, so it wins.

    1. Skud Post author

      LEVERAGE. LEV. ER. AGE. Please tell me I’ve pimped Leverage to you? If not, MOVIE NIGHT.

      1. Shaula

        Skud, are you familiar with the BBC series Hustle that debuted in 2004? It is likewise about a group of long-con con artists (I assume Leverage was in part inspired by the success of Hustle).

        Hustle is more oriented towards social engineering…which is probably why I enjoy it so much.

        I suspect that if you’re a Leverage fan, you may like Hustle, too.b

      2. Skud Post author

        Shaula, I’ve heard of it but I haven’t seen it. I’ll take a look! Would you describe it as tightly scripted/plotted?

  2. tigtog

    1. My geeky interest is history – particularly Late-Republican-Early-Imperial Rome and Plantagenet-through-to-Stewart English monarchy. It’s all the political intrigue combined with the respective dismantling of traditional republican balances of power and the evolution of constitutional law to provide balances of power, generally as an accretion of responses to particular instances of political intrigue.

    2. Elizabeth because of the political intrigue, the cast, the costumes, and the chance to checklist all the historical anachronisms and conflations in the script.

    1. Skud Post author

      … or the historical anachronisms in the costumes ;) (I thought that Shakespeare in Love had better — or at least more accurate — costumes.)

      1. tigtog

        Yes, Shakespeare in Love definitely had more accurate costumes. The anachronisms in that one just annoyed me though, whereas in Elizabeth they are so flagrantly unapologetic about them that it’s appealing to just start enjoying them – it’s almost like Elizabethan fanfic of the “the original story would have worked better this way” variety.

      2. Skud Post author

        I’m more or less of the opinion that all periods of history are improved by the presence of Geoffrey Rush, but that doesn’t put either SiL or E ahead I’m afraid :)

        What did you think of Golden Age? I have it out from Netflix but haven’t watched yet.

      3. tigtog

        Golden Age wasn’t quite as enjoyable as the first Cate Blanchett Elizabeth. The costumes were even more gorgeous (but no more accurate) and the politics was even more sketched out instead of delved into. Also? Not nearly enough of Raleigh in the rigging.

  3. Dorothea Salo

    1. I am a choral-music geek. Not that I know all that much about music… but when I am singing something I am not content until I figure out to my own satisfaction how the piece fits together and why it’s cool.

    2. Singin’ in the Rain, because they got their geek on about the transition from silent film to sound. Oh, and it’s the greatest movie ever, of course. *ducks*

    1. Skud Post author

      OT3 forever! *loves*

      Do you read fanfic? There is some good SitR fic on the Yuletide archive.

  4. yatima

    1. History, especially the late nineteenth century, and especially the history of breeding Arabian horses in the West. It’s a crucible of geopolitics and feminism and class.

    2. Dammit, Skud already took Dangerous Liaisons! Fine, then, Ladyhawke. Just because.

  5. Bene

    1. I’m a cultural analysis geek. I love what you can determine about a people and a history through bits and pieces and the ephemera of daily life that seems like ‘throwaway’ pop culture and forgettable news stories.
    2. O Brother, Where Art Thou? which is not only musical and chockful of tongue-in-cheek Odyssey references and Depression-era aesthetic but is also FUN.

    1. Liz Henry

      Have you ever read “In 1926” by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht? It takes a really nifty approach to cultural analysis through ephemera and pop culture… Listing out various subjects like Wireless Communication, Airplanes, Americans in Paris, Gomina (hair gel or grease), Jazz, Mountaineering, etc. and then pulls from popular magazines, newspapers, advertisements, novels, and objects of the time. So for example you get a poetic impression of how people in 1926 (in the three locations of focus – U.S., Argentina, and somewhere in Europe…) talked about airplanes at the time. The book would be so much better with pictures – but it’s still very cool.

      1. Bene

        I have not, but that sounds utterly brilliant and the kind of thing I would want to have written myself. Except about the 70s.

        So many books to look for before I jump ship from the US. Fortunately my UK university’s tops for pops…er…pop culture studies, so maybe they’ll have it.

  6. Mackenzie

    1.a. Artisan craft throughout history? I make Ukranian pysanky (artform predating introduction of Christianity 1000 years ago), sew (sometimes medieval dresses), and embroider (have looked into medieval western European styles and c. 1700-1800 Eastern European styles). I’ve done batik and woven before. I would love to learn to tablet weave. If anyone has a good guide (illustrations I’ve seen are awful), please let me know! I’m also interested in dying and spinning. Hmm maybe I’ll get a drop spindle. The obvious theme here is history, I guess. Someday, I would like to make my own medieval dress from scratch. And by from scratch I mean dye, spin, weave, sew, and embellish…by hand.

    1.b. Languages. I’ve studied Spanish (10 yr), Japanese (4yr), and Russian(1yr), but for the last 2yr I haven’t used them and instead have been learning a bunch of ASL vocab so I can chat with a deaf friend. I don’t know the grammar though. Goal: fluency in 3 languages by age 25.

    2. Uh…er…”Fanboys”

    1. tigtog

      A regular commentor on my blog has mentioned tablet weaving as one of her pursuits. I’ll give her a tweet to alert her to this thread.

    2. mimbles

      Here via tigtog’s tweet :-)
      Tablet weaving guide…hmmm. I learned by taking a class at a re-enactment event so I don’t have an immediate answer for you, but it’s certainly true that most of the written instructions I’ve seen are utterly incomprehensible. I shall see what I can dig up.

      I was actually, just today, thinking about putting together a basic introductory guide myself and publishing it on my blog, in part to document the patterns I’ve been using. As in I literally first thought of doing so about an hour ago as I started my new batch of weaving! If I do get around to it I’ll drop you a link.

      1. Mackenzie

        Awesome! I saw someone doing it at a re-enactment thing in…Scotland maybe…er…in the UK…9 years ago but haven’t found anyone local that could show me how, so I’ve no idea how to trim my bliauts!

    3. Skud Post author

      I just said this on IRC but I’ll repeat here for the benefit of anyone else :) Youtube! I was surprised — though I probably shouldn’t have been — to discover a bunch of knitting technique videos on YouTube a while back, and just now I searched for tablet weaving and there’s a heap of stuff. It seems these days like any physical skill you need help with, there’s a YouTube video. I bought a Leatherman multitool last year and couldn’t figure out how to open one bit of it, and it turned out there was even a video for that.

  7. Melissa

    Well… non-obvious to whom? ;) I’m not usually seen as a geek by people who don’t know me, but my friends say i’m the ultimate geek… Then again, in a group of mathematicians, who isn’t a geek?

    1. Crafting. Embroidering, crochetting, knitting, etc… I love it and my dream is to learn Bobbin lace just because I think it’s absolutely beautiful and it’s a dying tradition where I come from. I just never had the time or the right instructions to do it.

    2. Hard to think about a movie… But I’d say Monty Python and the Holy Grail :)

  8. Terri

    1. Edible plants. Or really, field naturalist stuff at all. When the year 2000 hit, one of my friends decided a good conversation starter would be “Well, what are you going to do for a living when all the computers don’t work?” and I said I’d be an herbalist, and the incredulous stares started… it turned out some of them didn’t even know that I have this database in my head filled with local plants I can eat, rub on mosquito bites, or use to make people’s tongues numb. ;) (Among the first programs I wrote was a computerized version of a biological key for identifying trees. Bio-geek!)

    2. I haven’t been watching that many movies since my movie store exploded (okay, I didn’t watch that many before either, but it’s a funnier excuse). Anyhow, I think I’ll go with The Protector.
    (a) Martial arts are kinda geeky
    (b) It’s got this crazy long fight sequence up these stairs that has no cuts in the action, which totally drives filmmaking geeks wild
    (c) Something about the capoeira in the fire scene… fire and martial arts together seems extra-geeky
    (d) the no stunt guys, no wires stuff also is kinda technical proficiency geeky too

    1. Liz

      I also love knowing about edible plants and plant identification in general! After the fall of civilization, no one near me will get scurvy!

    2. Liz Henry

      Oh, and also, I thought of another movie with a long fight sequence up a flight of stairs — the spiral staircase scene in Ong Bak 2 is all done in one cut and it’s about 15 minutes of choreographed fight. At first I remember thinking “What’s up, the fighting just went down a notch in complexity” and then realized that there were no cuts as Tony Jaa went up and up the stairs in this giant hotel lobby and people leaped out of nowhere or came down from above to attack him and be thrown off the railings and so on, so it came off like a first person shooter video game.

  9. Olivier

    1. Food and physiology/anatomy. I’m modestly obsessed with finding that perfect balance of local foods which a) taste great together and b) most perfectly matches dietary requirements for a person’s level and type of physical activity for the foreseen future.

    2. I never get tired of Office Space, though it’s already pretty well known among geeks. Lesser known… maybe Wargames, because it’s so old, or Shawshank Redemption, because the main character has his geek on. He uses geology, chess, books, and accounting to make his escape from prison.

    1. Skud Post author

      Girls’ school stories? Recs, plz! I grew up on a lot of Blyton and a little bit of Chalet School. What else is good, in your opinion?

      1. Aishwarya

        I’m already a member of GirlyCon! I haven’t been posting because I’m in the middle of a thesis (of which I’ve managed to make Antonia Forest* a substantial part).

        *And there’s a rec. if anyone here hasn’t read her. Forest is mostly out of print, hell to find, but so good.

  10. Catherine Devlins

    1. I speak Esperanto, la lingvo internacia. I find it friendlier to meet people halfway, language-wise, rather than count on my culture’s economic dominance to force them to learn my native language.

    2. Shattered Glass. It’s a movie about journalism – and not even war-zone journalism or anything like that – so you think it’s going to be dull. It’s not, it’s really compelling.

  11. Rosepixie

    1.a. I don’t think this really counts as non-obvious since everyone knows I’m into it, but it’s typically seen as “geekery”, so I’ll list it anyway: children’s books. I study children’s books the way other people study Dickens and Shakespeare. I got my degree in English so that I could do it better and read psychology and sociology articles and books to that end. It’s pretty geeky.

    1.b. Less obvious: the history of headaches. I have a headache all the time, so I’ve become really fascinated with the history behind them. Who had them, how they’ve been treated over the ages, how they were studied and understood, folkloric beliefs about what they were, etc. It’s really interesting, especially since we still don’t understand them very well!

    2. Pride and Prejudice – the one with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. It’s the truest adaption to the book I’ve seen (one of the most faithful of any book I’ve ever seen) and beautifully done besides. The costuming, sets, pacing, everything is fantastic. Totally geeky.

    1. jadelennox

      Rosepixie, are you involved with any of the graduate programs in children’s literature, or with children’s literature scholarship in general? I ask only because a lot of people who are really into studying children’s literature as literature don’t know how many wonderful opportunities there are in the field.

      1. tigtog

        Your question wasn’t directed at me, but I lovedlovedloved Lost in Austen. I found it so nicely realised on many different levels of litcrit analysis, it was just gorgeous.

  12. Liz

    Geology. I like reading about the geology of any place I visit, and trying to look at landforms and figure out what’s going on — what the story is over hundreds of millions of years.

  13. Asad

    Oh, as for geeky movies. Syriana. It’s so convoluted, you need a flowchart to untangle it. Plus it fits into the politics junkieness.

    At times I have been a peak oil “enthusiast”, as well. My obsessions change over time.

    1. Bene

      Geek ties: Alexander Siddig is in Syriana! (He was also awesome in an S2 Spooks guest role, though there were probably problematic things going on there that I didn’t read.)

  14. Leigh Honeywell

    1. The history of containerization. Containers are like packets but for stuff! There’s a fascinating intersection between the globalization of the world economy, the history of the labour movement, political change throughout the world, and the history of containerization. Though the book is a bit class!faily, “The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger” by Marc Levinson is an interesting read on the topic.

    2. Uh this one may seem like a weird suggestion, but I think “The Last Temptation of Christ” is totally nerdy. It’s like Scorsese was writing fanfiction about Christianity.

    1. Yatima

      Ohmygodyes containerization! I use the analogy all the time in $dayjob, where I am a software virtualization industry analyst…

  15. PharaohKatt

    1. Um… this one’s hard. I guess I’m a knowledge junky. If I find something interesting I’ll research it for ages, and so I know a lot of random things now. Like, I know a lot about cats, some ancient cultures, Andrew Lloyd Webber, linguistics… Yeah, just random knowledge.

    2. Dammit, someone said Ladyhawk! The Neverending Story. Just because.

    1. tigtog

      Between the person upthread posting Ladyhawke and you mentioning it, one of my daughter’s friends lent her the DVD so we watched it together. Still awesome, deffo.

  16. Rick

    1a) I’m a transit geek; I get a kick out of working through the myriad ways to get from A to B or figuring out esoteric ways to go somewhere. Being exposed to the Japanese railway system for a year instilled a real fondness for train travel and pretty much ruined me for any mass transit system in North America.

    1b) If I had my druthers, I’d probably have a basement full of pinball machines and old paintball guns, take pâtisserie classes during the day, and study for my pilot’s license at night. I haven’t the time or money to indulge all my interests, though, and somehow I suspect I’m not unique in this regard. =)

    2) I’m a fan of kung-fu movies, and Kung-fu Hustle is my favourite send-up of the genre to date.

  17. Mary

    1. I’ve always been something of a medical/human biology trivia geek, especially obstetrics and blood typing plus to some extent genetics in general. I don’t feel truly geeky here because I can’t compete with anyone with the formal education to MD/MB level (let alone fellowship) or a biology PhD and I feel like true geeks should be self-educated to expert level. But nevertheless, it has got to the point where the occasional doctor has asked if I’ve been a medical student at some point. I considered it, but I’m not up for the irregular and long hours called for.

    2. Apollo 13 is my geeky movie of preference. Science faction, I guess? But the scene with the people (all men, I think) in a room with a box of miscellaneous parts being told “this is what they have and this is how much power you can draw, build an oxygen pump” is the geek zenith.

    1. Yatima

      1. “..the occasional doctor has asked if I’ve been a medical student…”

      I get that all the time. My medical degree is from Google U.

      2. That scene! Yes!

  18. jadelennox

    I’m a nerd for reference books. Seriously, when somebody gave me the first volume of DARE, I almost cried, and I put it in a place of honor next to my Debrett’s Peerage and my two-volume OED.

    And I don’t like movies much, so is it okay if I name a TV show? Middleman!

  19. lauredhel

    I make soap. It’s the perfect mix of scigeekery, art (the perfumery, the colouring and swirls), magic, and dangerous chemicals. Plus, bubbles!

  20. Elizabeth Yalkut

    Food! I am a food geek in every possible way — ingredients, techniques, history, gadgets, policy. (I am not really a policy geek in many other areas, but constitutional law was my first love, and in retrospect, holy geekdom Batman. Working with OTW has made me an intellectual property geek of the first water, and I am an amateur geek about my high school, Emma Willard (their site is kind of dreadful; one of these days I will try to talk them into getting it revamped. Preferably by me) — I say amateur because the associate head of school is a professional geek about the place and I am totally aware of how much more I have to learn!

    1. Elizabeth Yalkut

      Oh, and for a non-sci-fi geek piece of media, I have to go with Enigma: Kate Winslet plays a mathematical smarty-pants! The mathematician saves the day! Jeremy Northam is the most awesome, smarmy spymaster ever! The gorgeous mankiller turns out to be a spy who faked her own death! *swoons* Also it is largely historically accurate. It probably helps to have read Robert Harris’ book beforehand (my sister claims she has no idea of what the plot is about), not least because it is much more explicit about Winslet’s character’s intelligence and has a few lesbian subtexty moments.

  21. Emily

    Grammar. Advertising. Double-entendres, naughty and otherwise.

    And I highly recommend Wordplay, the documentary about the NYT crossword puzzle.

  22. koipond

    1. Magic. I started learning it about 2 years ago and it’s just as amazing as I thought it would be as a kid. It’s also 10 times the work I wanted to put into something as a kid so doing it as a grown up help with the desire to practice. I did cards for about 8 months and then I’ve been working on adding coins now for about 1 year and a 4 months. Coins are way harder than cards. WAAAAY harder than cards. However, I can make one disappear which is cool. Getting it back is much harder.

    2. The Film is Not Yet Rated. I enjoyed the look at the MPAA and the various crap that they throw down as a rating.

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