Dorkstorm: The Annihilation
February 8, 2005 6:45 AM   Subscribe

Dorkstorm: The Annihilation The ten geekiest hobbies
posted by ColdChef (53 comments total)
Cool. I've always wanted to create a hiararchy of geekdome. For example, are linux users bigger geeks than D&D players?
Are Trekkies begger geeks than Bill Gates was at his prime?
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:06 AM on February 8, 2005

We have a winner!

1. Live Action Role Playing
Public Humiliation: 100%
posted by lobstah at 7:10 AM on February 8, 2005

I've always wanted to create a hiararchy of geekdom.

Been done, though still not as extensive as you might like.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:17 AM on February 8, 2005

Someone should set up a Sweet Sixteen Tournament of the geekiest hobbies and let people vote on them. Use the ten listed in the link, then add Forum Addiction, Miniature Wargaming, Beanie Babies, FanFiction, Competetive Homebrewing, and Creating a Tournament To Rank Geekery to round out the list!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:17 AM on February 8, 2005

First let me say that I was "guilty" of comicbook collecting, and playing RPGs when I was younger. The comics will one day pay my kid's tuition, and the RPG gaming, well, I figure that helped develop the lateral thinking and improv skills that allow me to make fat cash now. Furthermore, I think the whole "geek" moniker is one of those labels that gets attached to any hobby misunderstood by "normal" folks. Sure, I think the whole live RPG thing is a bit retarded, but I think that goes for the fans who paint their faces at football games, or know every bit of minutiae about their favourite team.

Geekiness is just passion mistranslated between social groups.
posted by theinsectsarewaiting at 7:22 AM on February 8, 2005

LOL...I just posted this to Fark, and it was shot down at the speed of light.

Revenge of the Dork Mod !!
posted by lobstah at 7:25 AM on February 8, 2005

Interesting how they slipped scrapbooking in there...
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:27 AM on February 8, 2005

What about record collectors?

I'll assume we're an "honorable mention" or something.
posted by jonmc at 7:27 AM on February 8, 2005

Furries/plushies are more about fetish than hobby, I thought.

Whew, fantasy football didn't make the list. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 7:35 AM on February 8, 2005

Way to post a years old Seanbaby article! Yeehaw!
posted by zerolives at 7:36 AM on February 8, 2005

I was a 5th grade civil war buff.....make of that what you will!
posted by mrs.pants at 7:37 AM on February 8, 2005

The Brunching Shuttlecocks did a pretty substantial hierarchy themselves a few years back... the bigger PDF seems like it should live on a wall somewhere. (They came to different conclusions about furries vs. LARPGers, though...)
posted by Mayor West at 7:37 AM on February 8, 2005

This is just mean. Those poor people can't help the way they are.
posted by pracowity at 7:38 AM on February 8, 2005

[bwah ha ha ha ha...]
posted by pracowity at 7:38 AM on February 8, 2005

How the hell does scrapbooking beat out role playing games?
posted by Dr_Johnson at 7:44 AM on February 8, 2005

What this needs is some recognition of the combinatorics which often go along with these categories. There are known to be quite a large number of Vampire LARPs.
posted by Dr_Johnson at 7:45 AM on February 8, 2005

Oh, and just where are the Bloggers on this list??
posted by Dr_Johnson at 7:46 AM on February 8, 2005

Everyone is someone else's geek.

Damn jazz record collectors.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:53 AM on February 8, 2005

theinsectsarewaiting - I wouldn't count too much on your comics being worth much money, depending on when you collected them. If we're talking comics from the 70s and earlier, maybe you've got some gems, but otherwise, you'll be lucky to get anything over coverprice for them. The markets are swamped with books, and frankly, the companies really took advantage of people wanting to make a buck off comics by flooding comic book stores with alternate covers, issue #1s, and so forth.
posted by papakwanz at 8:00 AM on February 8, 2005

posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:17 AM on February 8, 2005

This article read like the MetaFilter entrance examination.
posted by LarryC at 8:22 AM on February 8, 2005

Oh, Papakwanz, you big comic geek.

(But trust me, dude, my stuff is *good*. Want a taste of some silver age? Flipping through the pages won't cost you a thing...)

Sadly, like any other geek, I probably won't sell a single issue.
posted by theinsectsarewaiting at 8:27 AM on February 8, 2005

We have a winner!

1. Live Action Role Playing
Public Humiliation: 100%

Lobstah - you're not wrong! I recall an incident at uni when I was sitting in my room in the halls of residence, and I heard a commotion outside. Peering out the window, there were a bunch of people dressed up, flailing at each other with swords, staves, etc. Mad.

Not surprisingly, they all had masks, helmets, or makeup on, presumably so that nobody could recognise them :-)

It was entertaining - albeit in a sad way - to watch, and to think "Hmm - that could be fun, but it's far too embarassing"...
posted by Chunder at 8:29 AM on February 8, 2005

So where does making samurai armour out of cardboard, plastering it with bumper stickers and beating the shit out of each other with wooden dowels in Central Park fit on that list? (Or would that be better as an anonymous Ask Metafilter?)
posted by Captaintripps at 8:43 AM on February 8, 2005

Captaintripps, that would be LARPing...
posted by MrBobaFett at 9:03 AM on February 8, 2005

Looking at the list, I'm no longer a Geek:(

How the hell does scrapbooking beat out role playing games?

Or TexasHoldem-Poker
posted by thomcatspike at 9:04 AM on February 8, 2005

Anybody remember that hilarious live role playing video that was making the internet rounds? I wish I could find the link.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 9:08 AM on February 8, 2005

I met a guy who used to be a blacksmith, but all he got was requests from people to make chainmail and swords for larping, so he retired. Great stuff. .... not sure what else he would've made though.
posted by Arch Stanton at 9:12 AM on February 8, 2005

recognition of the combinatorics

I was wondering myself how dorkish it would be to be doing a Trek-versus-SW LARP in which Kirk, Spock, and co. challenge our favorite Jedis at a trading-card game derived from the Dungeons and Dragons comic books.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:17 AM on February 8, 2005

I was wondering myself how dorkish it would be to be doing a Trek-versus-SW LARP in which Kirk, Spock, and co. challenge our favorite Jedis at a trading-card game derived from the Dungeons and Dragons comic books.

Afterwards, you can make a scrapbook about the event.
posted by unreason at 9:23 AM on February 8, 2005 [1 favorite]

Fan Fiction is worse than RPG or Comic collecting any day... Anyone who spends the time to write a short story/novel about how Luke Skywalker gets pulled into a temporal vortex and falls in love with/passionately fucks Captain Kirk won't be rollin' no 20 sided die at my table.... sho 'nuff...
posted by Debaser626 at 9:36 AM on February 8, 2005

We have an unreasonably large LARPing club at my college. They're fascinating to watch when you're wandering around the campus on Thursday nights. If you ask nicely, they'll even let you tag along.

It's like a ride along but instead of cops, it's socially awkward virgins and instead of stopping crime, they hit each other with plungers wrapped in duct tape.
posted by StopMakingSense at 9:40 AM on February 8, 2005

MrBobaFett: would that really be LARPing? I mean, we just went out to be weird and get people to watch us.
posted by Captaintripps at 9:46 AM on February 8, 2005

10. yes
9. yes
8. no
7. no
6. no
5. yes
4. no
3. yes
2. woah, no!
1. yes, but under the influence of psychoactive pharmaceuticals

So, I'm 5/10. And boasting about it on Metafilter has got to count for something.
posted by Loudmax at 9:47 AM on February 8, 2005

I'm pretty sure "posting to online forums like Metafilter, slashdot, and Fark" all rank higher than scrapbooking.
posted by crunchland at 9:50 AM on February 8, 2005

How the hell does scrapbooking beat out role playing games?

Have you ever seen scrapbookers? And the trail of slime, anguish, and paper-punch confetti they leave behind?

They should be number one. They are especially dangerous because of the veneer of bourgeouis, middle-class normalcy. And because most of these other hobbyists are not inclined to foist their evil works upon your lap and insist that you look through them, no matter how your mind reels and your spleen rebels.

I'm not sure furries go on this list, either. But then, I don't actually believe in furries. Just -- no. I know that if I went poking around on the internets, I could find evidence that would cause me to believe. But I really, really don't want to. So let me go on pretending.
posted by Miko at 9:54 AM on February 8, 2005

My wife and I went into a scrapbooking store not so long ago for some reason. The vibe it gave off was the exact same as a comic book store. The difference being, of course, that instead of plump, young men milling about awkwardly, it was plump, middle-aged women.

The key to being a decent, relatively well-adjusted geek is a healthy sense of shame. Those who indulge in live-action roleplaying by necessity have none, and thus deserve their place at the top of Geek Mountain.
posted by picea at 11:36 AM on February 8, 2005

Furries are right where they belong. I ventured into that realm a couple times, on the muck. It was interesting, at times exciting, but just not a life-encompassing thing. The fur folk just get too obsessed with their own bizzare thing, and no, its not, for most of them, a fetish (since a real fetish is not learned).
posted by Goofyy at 11:44 AM on February 8, 2005

Ah, yes - LARPing.

In college, LARPing hit Madison, WI and my subset of friends, big time. So, many asked me to join them, quite a few times. I would get to dress up as a vampire (er, 'Wampyre'), and do things like pretend I was in a band!

Only one problem - I was actually a musician in a local noise/proto-No Wave band at the time, and we were at the point where we were getting local gigs. ('Feast of Maximum Occupancy', for those curious as to who we were.) So, taking time off from my real band to LARP in a play band wasn't really an appealing option at the time.

Some of my more persistant, more obsessed LARPing friends just couldn't parse that, which I thought was strange and kinda sad.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:16 PM on February 8, 2005

a real fetish is not learned

I challenge that idea -- there's nothing in the definition of 'fetish' which rules out learned behavior: - Fetish: an object or bodily part whose real or fantasized presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression

Psychology Dictionary - Fetish: A condition in which arousal and/or sexual gratification is attained through inanimate objects (shoes, pantyhose) or non-sexual body parts (feet, hair). Is considered a problem when the object is needed in order to obtain arousal or gratification and the individual can not can not complete a sexual act without this object present.

So yeah, the fur thing is a fetish. No one is bornwith an innate attraction to latex, or shoes, or any other fetish object. Fetishes are built through association, a type of learning in which two different stimuli occurring at the same time become connected in the brain. Associations happen at all phases of life. It's possible for people to develop fetishes about things which they didn't know existed before being introduced to them. Something like this fur nonsense, for instance, can become fetishistic to someone who is increasingly obsessed with it, and whose mind begins associating it with sexual stimuli. Certainly the power of the association may decline when the fetish object eventually fails to produce the usual response. That doesn't mean it was never a fetish.
posted by Miko at 12:32 PM on February 8, 2005

So, is it worse to design role playing games, think about designing them, run a game, or play and talk on and on and on about how awesome your character, SoulCrush KillFuck is?

Also, I present to thee, the creepiest gamers ever.

One example story from a user named Milkywaiter:

This is a bit long but...

I guess I will just have to mention my brief GMing to the brazilian police death squad.

Everything begun at my local gameclub (by local I mean the only one in a 4,000,000 people city) some five years ago. This club was run by a fellow hobbyist on weekends, was located at a big avenue and had a large 'Camelot' plaque hanging over the door with the picture of a knight. Needlessly to say it attracted a lot of curious people. Well, at the end of a saturday afternoon of particularly intense WEG Star Wars playing I was approached by this timid skinny guy in his late twenties. He had been watching the entire session and was almost apologetic about coming forward to talk to me. Anyway he lived just 3 blocks away and he loved "games", so he wanted someone to GM a game for him and his "work colleagues". They had never roleplayed before. He seemed a nice, clean, eager-to-play guy, so I invited him and his buddies for a AD&D game in the club, the following night.

Nothing would have prepared me and the other player (the club owner) for the cast of foul characters arriving at the club the next night. Just to contextualize the many non-brazilian readers in this thread, there are two kinds of police in Brazil: the semi-illiterate oppressive superviolent military police, and the corrupt immoral wiseguy detective/mobster types from the civilian police. These guys were the second type.

These four men (the skinny guy only showed up later) were villain prototypes and had intimidation skill points worth entire 20th level characters. Even when they nicely said hello they had menace written all over their foreheads. It was night, but they were dressed like beach tourists, wearing soccer team t-shirts and sandals. There were so much male jewelry as to make Mr. T look like a girl playing child´s bijouterie. All of them had pistols attached at strategic holsters in their bodies, at least one of them had knives, and all of them were anxious to play the nice "game of dice".

I should see the size of the problem when a huge black man put two bottles of smuggled whisky on top of the table we would play. He seriously asked me if that was booze enough for all of us (two bottles for 7 people). I replied I didn´t drink. He said he would freeze the liquid for me to eat it and his mouth opened in a big smile filled with golden teeth.

Anyway the quarreling began when I showed them the pre-gen characters. All of them "wanted to be the master". There were also quarreling about who would get which character (they were choosing by the pictures). But that was mild quarreling and they calmed down as their heavy drinking and joint smoking ensued. Oh, and they also loved the dice.

The game finally began at the tavern where I had planned the characters to meet and the players to familiarize themselves with the blessed and (to them) newly-perceived freedom a player has in a RPG. They caught on fast enough with IC dialogue, and besides the incessant joint passing and abusive drinking the players were concentrated, with cellphones turned off and all.

That´s when the prostitutes arrived.

Unknowingly to me and the club owner, skinny guy had arranged for two prostitutes, old acquaintances of these guys, to meet at my friend´s gaming club. Things went downhill from there, with the women disrupting the game and the telling of IC mixed with OOC murder stories. By this point my friend made the second mistake of the evening, trying to stop the game by telling me he was late and had to close the club and stuff. The murderous cops didn´t take his intentions well, and started to get all serious and quiet, trying to intimidate my friend. After all, he wasn´t being a nice host, since they had brought the booze, the girls, the drugs and the guns, and they were not going to leave before knowing "who won" anyway, since everyone of them had (of course) bet 50 bucks his character would "win".

So I wrapped things up by having an all-out combat between the characters, while a detective banged one of the girls against a wall 4 feet away. The winner got 200 bucks and a knuckle-duster, they all had a blast and left me and my shaking buddy glad we were left alive . We never saw any of them again, not even skinny guy.

Maybe not too creepy, but then again my experience is limited.

posted by clockworkjoe at 12:44 PM on February 8, 2005

Thanks for the great story, clockworkjoe.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 2:02 PM on February 8, 2005

When I was young, Amateur Radio was on the list. How times have changed!
posted by ParisParamus at 2:50 PM on February 8, 2005

Geekdom was has been quantified on the internets before. Funny link, and the brunching shuttlecocks chart made me laugh, too.
posted by theora55 at 3:38 PM on February 8, 2005

What is scrapbooking?
posted by pracowity at 3:55 PM on February 8, 2005

Scrapbooking is a cult and deserves its space on the list. I know scrapbooking moms that spend all of their free weekends chronicling all the activities that their children participated in while they were ignoring them and scrapbooking.
posted by ColdChef at 5:45 PM on February 8, 2005

Nice how the comic book geekitude was left to superheroes; I suppose those of us who primarily read indies and manga are less geeky :D

Debaser626: Agreed. Guess I'll stay away from you, then (and wouldn't Kirk be the top?) ;)
posted by May Kasahara at 6:31 PM on February 8, 2005

Let's see: I currently read a comic book about role-playing games, and play a role-playing game about comic book characters.

I think my scale goes up to 11, Nigel.
posted by SPrintF at 9:27 PM on February 8, 2005

Whatever. Geek is the new cool. Now everywhere you go, everyone claims they were a geek in high school. Now it's hip as opposed to unhip to be into comic books, indies, anime, obscurest-of-the-obscure martial arts flicks. Now Hollywood blockbusters are based on them and even the scrapbookers go.

(Speaking of whom! Scrapbookers are NOT GEEKS. Scrapbooking is essentially an expression of mainstream lifestyle. It's an extension of housework. If it were creative and innovative and artistic, the end product would be called artist's books.)

My point is just that gaming, for instance, used to be geeky, practically even morally questionable - until the most inveterate gameholics made good and won fame and fortune playing. Same thing goes for collecting, i.e. specifically of pop culture artifacts. Same thing goes, of course, for computer geekdom: masters of the universe in the age of dotcomania. Vindication for geeks on all sides.

Now it's so cool to be in the geek club that even the popular kids want in.
posted by melixxa600 at 10:33 PM on February 8, 2005

Ashamed as I am to admit it, I used to read Knights of the Dinner Table back when I role-played. I can even one-up you. See that Knights of the Dinner Table Illustrated link on the side of the KODT page? It's a comic about the characters in the role-playing game that the characters in the KODT comic play. Madness.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:43 PM on February 8, 2005

I don't think roleplaying would be quite so damaging to sex life these days. Perhaps early on, when it was a case of acne-scarred misfits playing number-crunching Tolkien-inspired war games, but the profile of roleplayers has changed somewhat since then. Between the pagans, goths, furries and the tendency, common in geek/misfit circles, to be less sexually inhibited than the mainstream (i.e., look at the rate of polyamory or fetish experimentation in "geek" subcultures), I imagine that quite a lot of bootywhang originates from roleplaying circles; perhaps more than the jocks and cheerleaders in the school of life are having.
posted by acb at 6:34 AM on February 9, 2005

that sounds like a rationalization if I ever heard one.
posted by crunchland at 10:42 AM on February 10, 2005

I seem to have hit all those except Furry & Scrapbooking.
I have to agree with acb - I got plenty o' lovin'
'Specially the kinky stuff.
But I did catch a lot of flak for LARPing White Wolf's Vampires at a bar in Chicago.
Like many geeks, I took a lot of martial arts as a kid and hit the gym.
Big chunk of soldiers role play as a way to pass time.

I'm thinking it's no longer fashionable to beat on geeks because they tend to a. wind up as your boss and b. are more able to defend themselves (perhaps as a result of emulating Klingons?)
posted by Smedleyman at 4:33 PM on February 10, 2005

« Older The Singing Pyramid?   |   Featuring Meatball Sub as itself. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments