Published 12:00 am PST Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Story appeared in SCENE section, Page E1
Generally speaking, geeks are intelligent and employed, but socially inept. Once ridiculed, geeks now are marginally cool, thanks to popular, geeky TV characters like Hiro Nakamura of NBC's "Heroes" and bug-freak Gil Grissom of CBS' "CSI." Geek chic is big on TV.
Computers, science, video games, sci-fi and fantasy are major geek passions. Other geek interests include anime, mathematics, comic books, classic literature, and cult movies and TV shows. Renaissance fairs, too.
According to Rector, the multitude of government and high-tech jobs in the area makes the city attractive to geeks. Teaching is another popular geek profession, she adds.
"Getting a state job is the
Forbes magazine has ranked
Amaranth Wise is a fundraiser by profession and a founder of Sacramento Whovians, a "Doctor Who" fan club. The BBC-produced sci-fi TV series has become a cult classic.
"I'm a geek; I prefer to stay at home in a dark room with a computer," Wise says. "I avoid natural light."
Geeks are wild about "Doctor Who," "Star Trek," "Farscape," "Battlestar Galactica," "Star Wars," "Lost" and "Heroes."
They adore role-playing games, anything Hobbit, X-Men, "X-Files," Spider-Man, board games, the Science Channel, Discovery Channel, online forums and extraterrestrials. "Star Trek," although considered old school in today's geek culture, remains a traditional favorite.
"You can walk into any office in
Are you a geek?
The online Urban Dictionary's top-rated definition of a geek describes these four traits:
• Lack of participation in physical activities, such as sports.
• An interest in computers.
• A crude sense of humor radically different from common society.
• A negative attitude toward common society.
In the stereotypical sense, geeks are the ones handling radioactive isotopes in chemistry class, sitting at home on prom night and tagged "losers" by the popular kids. Geeks often get the last laugh through academic achievement and high-paying jobs.
Famous geeks include Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs and George Lucas. On the blog Geeks Run the World, "Geekfu" proudly posts, "One of my most favorite geeks is Pythagoras. He was the Greek philosopher who came up with the Pythagorean theorem. I love Math!"
Without geeks there wouldn't be an Internet, and without the Internet many geeks wouldn't have a social life. Geeks may well inherit the Earth – once they get it reprogrammed.
"Geeks realize that much of the stuff that most people just don't understand is actually really cool and fun," Rector says.
Melissa Lauritzen of
"Everything is kind of underground right now," she says. "Fans are out there, they're just not participating as much."
"I do have one fantasy weakness – 'Moonlight,' " she says about the CBS series about vampires.
Another Trekker, Rob Lerman of North Highlands, held the rank of Commanding Admiral of Starfleet in 1993-94, the highest position in the international
"It's the largest fan-led 'Star Trek' club in the world," he says.
Lerman, now a senior IT analyst for AT&T, is still a member but not as active.
"With any organization there's politics involved," he says.
The band will play a CD-release concert at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Blue Lamp,
Warp 11, with song titles like "Don't Klingon Me" and "Rage Against the Federation," formed in 1999 when all members worked at a
"I read somewhere that Sacramento has the highest per capita number of 'Star Trek' fans of anywhere in the country," says Karl Miller, vocalist and bassist for Warp 11. "There's lots of people in
Wise's sci-fi Whovians gather once a month at a "meet-up" to watch episodes and debate cutting-edge topics of the day.
"We'll pause it ("Doctor Who" episode) so somebody can go get a slice of pizza and it might not get restarted for 45 minutes because we're arguing about another sci-fi subject," Wise says. "Somebody will say, 'The space station on "Doctor Who" reminds me of the one on "Deep Space 9." ' We'll go into entirely bizarre subjects."
Several Whovians are teachers or former teachers, Wise says.
"We're all relatively intelligent; most of us have at least one college degree," she adds.
Last month's big storm that knocked out power in some
"We played Scrabble and sat around a lot looking at each other," she says. "You can only read so many 'Star Trek' novellas a day."
A FIELD GUIDE TO GEEK IDENTIFICATION
Geeks often are mistaken for nerds. There is a difference – and neither likes to be called a dork.
Stephanie Rector of www.sacramentogeeks.com says the easiest way to differentiate among geeks, nerds and dorks was silk-screened on a T-shirt she saw on cafepress.com:
Geek: Understands, creates and fixes Really Cool Stuff.
Nerd: Understands and collects Really Cool Stuff.
Dork: Confused by Really Cool Stuff.
Geeksta rap rocks da house – especially if you're a geek. Rajeev Bajaj, a
Hot electrons can ruin my day
Switch the transistor to go the other way
I make my software self healing
To prevent such a calamity from dealing
A deadly blow to my directory root
If all else fails ... YO, REBOOT