Geek Life

A geek is an individual who is fascinated by knowledge and imagination, usually electronic or virtual in nature.(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

As a child I was already interested in science and, especially, space. I grew up during the Apollo-era. When I was ten my mother kept me awake at night to watch Neil Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind on TV in those exciting days of July 1969. I was lucky: earlier I wrote on my spaceblog about all the stuff you could collect about the Apollo project. Schoolmagazine “Taptoe” published a weekly encyclopedia “De wervelende wereld” in the year 1968/69, compiled by Henk Hartendorp. Eager for information about science and, more specifically, space, I had to wait restlessly every week until the new issue was published and I could soak more information.

Later I bought Isaac Asimov’s 4-volume “De moderne natuurwetenschappen” at a book sales for a few Dutch guilders. And I read a lot of science fiction: Asimov’s “Fantastic Voyage” and “I, Robot”, John Wyndham’s “The Day of the Triffids” and some of his other books, Wells “Time Machine”, Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” and, of course, a lot of Jules Verne. Ira Levin’s “This Perfect Day” – about a future society worldwide governed by a computer – influenced me also in my view on politics. I talked about nothing else but space and space traveling. While my brothers talked about fashion – which BTW I found very strange for boys – and football, they called me a “closet scholar”. My mother started complaining about “too many books on my shelf”, never spending my pocket money on chips, candy or going to the movies and later about not being interested in girls, which appeared to be premature :-). If only the personal computer had been around!

My interest for science had one strong rival: my interest in music. I played the recorder and the flute, but I also taught myself playing the guitar, because the softer volume of the acoustic guitar wasn’t noticed by my parents so they thought I was doing my homework, while I was actually finding out how to play the chords of famous tunes. If only the Internet had be around – you can find those chords and tabs now in a minute!

I had more talent for music than for science, so I decided to become a musician. A music teacher, a choral conductor and a musicologist. Never able to choose for only one thing: my strength is my versatility, my weakness is my continued effort to stretch myself as much as possible: from medieval plain chant to 19th century German opera and 20th century pop- and computer music; from playing flutes, keyboards, guitar and Javanese gamelan to conducting, arranging and composing choral music.

My interest for science had to be suspended for a few years, but after a period of being focused on music and my family, I rediscovered my old books. I bought a telescope and started to observe the moon and planets. I now had enough money to buy more books than I could keep on my shelves, let alone than I could read and a few years later the advance of the Internet could feed my hunger for knowledge.

With so many things to read and to explore, time became a serious limiting factor, so I had to look out for a good time-management system and to focus my self-discipline. I stumbled upon David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”. Merlin Mann’s explanation of Allen’s “Action management system” was my first introduction. And there I read something about Geeks and GTD:

I think Getting Things Done appeals to geeks for a lot of reasons. Overgeneralizing for effect:

  • geeks are often disorganized or have a twisted skein of attention-deficit issues
  • geeks love assessing, classifying, and defining the objects in their world
  • geeks crave actionable items and roll their eyes at “mission statements” and lofty management patois
  • geeks like things that work with technology-agnostic and lofi tools
  • geeks like frameworks but tend to ignore rules
  • geeks are unusually open to change (if it can be demonstrated to work better than what they’re currently using)
  • geeks like fixing things on their own terms
  • geeks have too many projects and lots and lots of stuff

Wow, all these things applied to me. So I wondered: “Am I a Geek?”

I took the Geek test and scored 32.34714% – Total Geek. A rather serious disease, but there also remains a whopping 67,65286% part of me that still is fully functional in daily life.

Neil Feineman’s book “Geek Chic” explains all about Geek Culture. Some things I do, some things I don’t – the geek-side-of-life is only one side of my life. One of the things I do is: I blog. And of course, I maintain several blogs, to cover all aspects of my pandimensional personality – I’m more or less a geek-of-all-trades.

Version: 3.1
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  • The Aesthetics and Beauty of Knowledge

    Shih was the opposite of facts and raw information; shih was the elegance of knowledge, the insight and skill to organize knowledge into meaningful patterns. As an artist chooses colours or light to make her pictures, a master of shih chooses textures of knowledge – various ideas, myths, abstractions, and theories – to create a way of seeing the world. The aesthetics and beauty of knowledge – this was shih.

    – David Zindell, The Broken God, 1993

  • Geek Attitude

    The attitude thing is about flexibility, portability, creativity, sociability and jamming (ran out of suitable “ity” words!). It’s about improvising – in the practical and musical senses of the word; not getting tangled in boundaries and the “right” way to do things.
    Definitely the only way to travel.
    Martin Delaney – “Laptop Music”.