Late blossoming nerddom

SaeKawaii / Pixabay

It has been abundantly clear over the past 10 years that Nerddom and Geekdom are finally taking their place in the mainstream and are losing the stigma it was once associated with. Dungeons & Dragons, gaming, fandoms, sci-fi and fantasy, etc.

It’s glorious. These adventures, these stories, these creations that are coming from the minds of millions are entertaining and enthralling. And with them come the stories of childhoods and growing up with high schools and colleges. About playing D&D for over 20 years, or the weekly comic shop trip to pick up a ton of issues of something. The stories of being¬†ostracized but finding your place and it’s better than you could’ve imagined.

Along side these are the artists and creators. Magnificent stories of their individualism as they were growing up, and finally gaining the recognition they deserve for their art, for their imagination. It’s absolute brilliant that these things are happening.

 

I don’t have any of those stories. I was a fairly nerdy kid, yeah. Collected rocks, read a few books or so. Only comics I read were Suske & Wiske, Asterix, the occasional Donald Duck. Wasn’t particularly interested in art. Never really interested by board games or table tops. I wasn’t a gamer like others, except for the NES and SNES, and even then marginally.

And that’s pretty much carried on for the past 30 years. I like these things, I love other things, but I rarely seem to be able to exude the same passion for anything like others. Nor am I able to maintain an interest for particularly long. A month or two, sure, but everything seems to just peter off at some point.

I envy my fellow geeks and nerds, for their childhoods, for their glorious love and passion in their interests.

D&D has become a huge thing now, or I’ve just stumbled upon the fandom, and it never held much interest to me till a few months ago. And even now I still haven’t played it, yet I’ve acquired all the books (shush, I know where to find anything on the internet).

I’m not a newb to these things. And maybe I’m fixating on those that are at the forefront of this geek renaissance, their masterful skill of speaking for the disenfranchised. There are millions upon millions out there who don’t articulate their passions as well, but it’s still there.

How do I feel about it all? I love this divergence of geekdom into the mainstream, but I envy those involved. Because to this day, I’m not convinced I’ve found my passion or if I even have one. Just as I am a Jack of All Trades, Master of None, I believe I’m also a Jack of All Passions, Master of None, which makes me a little sad.

Making a living

Sponsorships, selling out and changing my mind

Making a living

Years ago, I was a fiercely independent individual wanting to be a self-made man, and part of that carried over into certain areas I work in. The idea of compromising my morals and ethics in favour of commercialism and selling out was such a foreign and disgusting concept to me, that I avoided it all costs. Even if financial pressure set in I could say “I might be poor, but I stand by my convictions.”

To this day, I still struggle with overcoming the “I can do this myself” type approach.

I often do things for others for free or for cost. Spend time helping others set up social media for their projects, or sites for their bands, build props for at cost or just gifting it to them, or spend my time working on something like editing or writing that’d benefit others.

I think a huge factor to this is I understand being broke, hell, I am broke myself, constantly, so I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on someone else. I want as many people as possible to be happy, though I’m well aware it’s impossible to keep everyone happy.

This has all come at the cost of my own happiness, and more importantly, progress to create more things. I can’t afford new equipment, can’t afford supplies, and bills are getting postponed as long as possible.

My time IS worth recompense, and I have developed skills that others do not have. Much as it’d be great to share and teach these skills, I have no patience for teaching either. I’m an artist, administrator, developer, and creator, and no one should expect to do these things for free.

So with that said, I’m going to make some changes to how I do things. I will charge for my time, at least minimum wage, and a mark up on items and development. I will start using marketing techniques, advertising, sponsorship, funding, and yes, even merchandise systems like Zazzle, Cafepress and Spreadshirt.

Because much as I like the idea of building things from scratch, and gifting people things, I still need to eat, drink, feed my family and be able to have a semblance of living.

Why I’m bored of Youtube’s Trending

geralt / Pixabay

So for a good three or four years now I’ve given up on regular TV. No FreeSat, no cable, and barely any On Demand stuff. I used to be fine paying my TV license simply for having a season of Dr. Who from the BBC once a year, but considering Moffats production and writing skills deserve to be buried deep within the earths crust, I’ve added myself to the “No TV” list.

Anything and everything I want to watch is available online, be it through legal or less than legal means. Everything. I don’t even sit down in front of the TV anywhere. Put it in the kids room, and she doesn’t watch anything other than what she downloads as well or Youtube.

I love Youtube. I really do. It’s been the cause of huge changes in the internet, and how people absorb their media.

But I fucking hate that damn Trending page. Because it’s entirely hogged by artificially inseminated viral videos that have almost no entertainment value whatsoever. They’re boring as hell. “50 Donut Challenge”, “Why Gerard Butler doesn’t get many movie offers anymore”, “I do my boyfriends brothers makeup.”

What is this shit?

Alright fine, I know it’s a combination of algorithms and paid for advertising. It’s google after all. But the clickbaity’ness of it all is as obvious as the corruption of American politicians. They don’t even bother to try and hide it.

And on another note, the Home/Recommended page? All stuff I’ve seen already, maybe once a week there’s something new.

Right, that’s my old man rant done and over with. I’m going to binge watch a show now, on Youtube, that was recommended to me by people, and not some shitty algorithm.

 

Assignment procrastination

3844328 / Pixabay

 

Sometimes I really suck at being a student. Today is one of those days, and I’m sure it happens to everyone, but it’s really disheartening considering how often it happens to myself.

Assignment due on Tuesday and it involves one of the more basic yet frustrating topics, which is subnetting networks. I know I can do it if I give my brain time, and just look at the damn information, but everytime I do I rage against it.

All I want to do right now is make my D&D cases, tidy the flat, build some stuff, write some stories, etc. Basically anything but this.

I’ve spent most of my day attempting to get this assignment done, and I know once I get started in earnest I can do it, but in all honesty, I’m writing today off. My reasoning is that if I’ve spent the day attempting this, and no progress has been made, I’ve wasted my energy and time when other things do need to be done.

Tomorrow is a busy day, but I’ll have time again in the evening to tackle it. What I can do however is make things a little easier for myself and make sure the information I need is ready to hand so I don’t get distracted dicking about the internet finding what I need to do.

One of these days…

One of these days I’m going to actually settle on a theme for my site and stick to it.

Seriously dicking about with the settings, adjusting things, trying to get my usual colour theme of yellow/orange and black going is a pain in the ass.
I should probably just make my own bloody theme and use that from now on.

But today is not that day. No.

Today instead I’ll be focusing on my Open University Degree and lamenting my choice in modules. In this case, Cisco.

In other news, I’ve successfully used my Singer sewing machine for the first time. It’s an old antique one, and honestly when I got given it I practically swooned. It’s gorgeous. Now I’ve used it to adjust my permanent roommate’s Ghostbuster suit, since she ordered it from China, and even though she’s like a size 12 or 14, even an XL in Asia is apparently too small for her.

Identity & Security – Primer

Over the past decade, government intrusion into the lives of ordinary citizens, regardless of nationality or location, has been getting to ridiculous levels now. Edward Snowden even highlighted the fact that the NSA can snoop on anyones webcam, microphone, smartphone, etc, whenever they damn well feel like.

There are some immutable facts that have to be addressed:

  • Any form of digital or electronic system was created by a person/group/company.
  • Every digital or electronic system, no matter how secure, is able to get broken into by a third-party sooner or later.
  • Installing official back doors that only governments or authorities can access means anyone can access them, given time, social engineering, or just getting a job with said government/authority.
  • The meta-data that comprises your identity as a person, can be used for more than just credit card fraud. You could be the profile of a botnet, you could be used to open accounts elsewhere, you could be used as a fake identity for a troll or criminal.
  • Nothing is 100% secure. Ever.

Depressing, isn’t it? It gives the impression that there’s nothing you can do and you’re doomed to be played by anyone slightly higher up on the digital food-chain. However, there are ways you can mitigate the chances of being hacked.

STOP USING THE SAME PASSWORD FOR EVERYTHING!

At the very least, don’t use the password you use for your email for anything else. The email address you use to sign into various services and networks is like the golden ticket for anyone looking to misbehave. Once your email has been secured, they can reset the password on every and any account associated with it. So not only does your email go, so does your facebook, your twitter, your amazon prime, your netflix, etc. etc. etc.

Jesus christ, use a password manager and 2 factor authentication.