Nerd Girl

Finding a Balance

Posted on September 4, 2012. Filed under: Blogging, GeekSmash Articles, Improving your writing skills, Nerd Girl, Technology, Writing | Tags: , , , , , |

Update – My Review of Dr. Who Season 7 premiere: “The Aslyum of the Daleks.”

Some of you may know that I recently starting writing for the awesome website Geeksmash.com. It’s been a great experience so far, but I noticed that it’s led me to neglect some of my other writing, namely my blog. It’s not an issue of time but of content; I write about the same sort of things in my blog that I write about for Geeksmash. So, what is a blogger to do?

The answer is to find a balance. Write geeky articles for the site and write nerdy articles for myself. Sounds simple… right? Maybe… Well, regardless of whether or not it’s simple, my solution is to write a blog post each time I write an article for the site! That will be my balance.

I just got done writing my review of the Season 7 Dr. Who premiere, “Asylum of the Daleks,” which was AWESOME. Not only did my heart drop into the pit of my stomach during the episode’s second scene, but it stayed there until a very touching and tear-jerking scene toward the end. There have only been two other Dr. Who episodes that have made me cry, and this was the third. I know, I’m a sap, but I can’t help but fall for the love story between Amy and Rory. I’ll be sure to include a link to review once it’s posted.

To be honest, I struggled writing my review. It seems silly, since I’m a huge Whovian and a writer, so it should have been a breeze for me, right? Sometimes I let the pressure of writing something for a wide audience get the better of me. Every negative thought in existence probably passed through  my brain during my first attempt to write my review. Finally, I said hell with it, I’ll write whatever I write and if it’s not good enough, then so be it. Was it good enough? I think so.

I think all writers are infused with chronic doubt with regards to their work. There’s always the fear of rejection, though this fear usually manifests itself as the writer rejecting his or her own work before it can be rejected by the public. The motto of all writers should be “who cares,” but things aren’t that easy. For a writer, the words that go on the page don’t just arise as her fingers hit the keys; instead, they’ve been lurking, hiding within the writer’s subconscious for quite awhile. Putting them on the page means taking these well-hidden thoughts with which we’ve become familiar and exposing them for the entire world to see. Think of it this way: A painter has been working on a masterpiece and has grown to love the solitary relationship that exists between herself and her painting; once she’s finished, however, the solitary relationship will be no more. Soon, everything will be exposed, for the world to see… and to judge. Can you imagine how it must feel, not only to lose that working relationship but to put it on display for everyone to take part in?

Writing is like that, except these relationship exists within our minds. We grow accustom to our thoughts, ideas, stories and characters. Once we release them into the world, our relationship with them is gone. It’s like losing a trusty friend. And that is the reason why many writers suffer from anxiety when it comes to committing words to a page. It doesn’t matter if the thoughts are years or days old; they are still personal to the writer and revealing them makes one feel vulnerable.

The greatest writers have learned to overcome such exposure or have at least figured out a way to cope with it. My guess is that it’s the latter, fortunately for us readers. And such is the journey I find myself on now; learning to cope with the vulnerability that comes with bearing my innermost thoughts and feelings to the world via words. 🙂

If you’d like to read the articles that I’ve written for Geeksmash.com thus far, here are some links. If you like them, please show your support and click “like” on the page. Validation always makes writers feel better, no matter who they might be. Hell, it makes everyone feel better, am I right?

Comment and let me know what you think! If you have any ideas or news that you’d like to see written about in future posts, please comment and let me know!

Why I Fell In Love With Dr. Who: The Girl Who Waited and Finally Watched Dr. Who

NES Favorites: Top 10 Nintendo Games From The 80′s: Top 10 Nintendo Games That Stole My Heart(s) and Dominated My Console

Telepresence Robots from Double Robotics: Experience the World Without Leaving Your Home: Telepresence Robots, Courtesy of Double Robotics and Your iPad

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For Female Nerds: On Having Nerdy Guy Friends

Posted on April 14, 2012. Filed under: Blogging, Humor, Nerd Girl | Tags: , , , , |

(Note to readers: This is a revision of an earlier post. It’s been edited for both content purposes, hence my reposting, and because of some atrocious grammar guffaws. I changed the title as well, since I’m planning on doing a series of blog posts specifically for female nerds; you can consider this the first.)

Male nerds are a common breed. It’s not strange to hear of a guy fascinating with video games, comic books, anime, science and learning in general.

What about the less common, albeit frequently hunted female nerd?

We exist. And we share the same interests as male nerds. We don’t have many female friends, unless we’re lucky enough to make contact with another of our breed. Other women can easily spot us in crowds because we’re the girls without heels, designer purses or lipstick stuck up our rears.

At parties, we’re the girls in the corner surrounded by a group of guys. We aren’t hussies; we just happen to get along better with your man than you do because we have more in common with them. Give me a male nerd and we can talk about anything from astrophysics to finding the second hidden warp-whistle in Super Mario Bros. 3.

Unfortunately, this scenario eventually attracts the attention of the women we typically avoid… and we feel their ice-cold stares penetrating our bodies, from our Converse all the way up to our glasses.

Let me be clear: I’m not talking about every single girl who isn’t a nerd. There are plenty of women whom I respect because, while we may not have much in common, they don’t expect me to climb on top of a high-horse just to make eye contact with them. I could name a handful or two of women I know who aren’t going to judge me based on my purple kicks and aversion to dresses.

The hardest part of a male/female-nerd alliance is when the male-nerds start dating nonnerd-girls. It’s these kind of situations that suck. As far as making friends go, I’m already at a disadvantage as I don’t have very much in common with most girls.

So, what is a nerd-girl supposed to do when one of her male-nerd friends get a new nonnerdy girlfriend or, even worse, gets married to one? Brainwashed, leash-bound and completely whipped, most male-nerds eventually push us away, per nonnerd-girl’s request.

So, Ladies, listen up:

We’re not trying to steal your boyfriend/husband. I like male-nerds because we can talk without broaching those mysterious subjects “you ladies” discuss that make both men — and myself — tune you out. I won’t fall victim to your infamous girl-talk about manicures and shoes, which women like myself can’t process because we’re too busy thinking about things that matter.

Don’t deny your male-nerd the friendship of nerd-girls! We can satisfy their intellectual needs, leaving you free to never crack-open a book or hold a controller!

If my boyfriend became close to a girl who shared all of his same interests, I’d definitely be jealous. I’m lucky that I only date guys who are smart, play video games, watch anime and who are all-around the right amount of nerdy; those are the only kinds of guys that I’m interested in. Did I mention that they had to be cute? Yeah, cute male-nerds are rare but are out there. They’re kind of guys like my boyfriend, who bought me this bouquet of 8-bit flowers, since he knows I don’t like real flowers. Real flowers just wilt and die after a few days, making them not only a waste but a hassle!

There’s one last point I’d like to make. I have very few female friends and that is upsetting at times. There aren’t many of us nerd-girls in the world, so finding someone with whom I have things in common proves difficult. I guess I’m stuck hanging out with nerdy-guys; it could be worse.

– KillaJulz

 

As a bonus, here’s a somewhat on-topic article I found on Kotaku.com: “When a Normal Lady Chases After Nerds.”

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Domo arigato Mr. PR2 roboto?

Posted on March 28, 2012. Filed under: Nerd Girl | Tags: , , , , |

Before I start discussing my topic in-depth, I first would like to address a few things:

First, I have never doubted the fact that one day during my lifetime, the age of robots will come.

Q: Do I think that this could prove to be potentially awesome, given that the robots follow Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics?”

A: Probably, though I revisit the theory numerous times in my head, as I’m sure there’s a loophole somewhere. I just feel it. Those suckers are just waiting to take over.

Q. Would I be apprehensive if robots became more commonplace?

A. Oh, hell yeah.

Q. Would I care if robots took over the world as long as I got to keep my own super fancy butler robot?

A. What? Did someone mention there might be a problem?? Huh? I need a soda, where’s Armando?

While 2011 saw a number of advancements in the field of robotics, by far the most popular robot out of the bunch is the PR2, created by the team at Willow Garage.

One of the many things for which the PR2 is famous involves one of its most recent upgrades. The PR2 is now capable of understanding the command, “Buy me a sandwich,” along with understanding every single possibilities that such a request can imply. The robot first processes the request by using what is called a semantic search. With this kind of search, the robot uses its on-board searchable database to evaluate and eventually come to a complete understanding of the questioner’s intent, along with the contextual meaning of the request. This enables the PR2 to fully understand the request enough (and when I say fully, I can’t even begin to imagine the number of scenarios the robot has stored in its data center) that it will buy a sandwich when asked. You want to know what’s even cooler? When the PR2 was asked to buy a sandwich, but was unable to locate any in its surrounding area, the PR2 strolled on down to Subway and asked the “sandwich artist” there for a sandwich. Not only is this robot smart and able to take care of itself, but it makes healthy food choices as well.

What I’m the curious to know is just what in the world that sandwich guy was thinking the moment the PR2 robot walked into the food establishment, as robots don’t even need to eat!!?! What would you think if a robot just up and waltzed into the door to your shop and asked for, let’s say… a rubix cube? (You don’t think it would ask for one? Think again.) And NO saying that because the sandwich artist is Japanese, he’s used to robots walking about; that’s just not right. Shame on you.

I wonder what the PR2 used as payment?

Here’s a video of the PR2 on his sandwich quest:

I find the fact that the PR2 was capable of sandwich-shopping to be commendable feat on behalf of the guys at Willow Garage robots research laboratory. Hopefully those guys give poor PR2 a break, instead of always sending him out to grab a pizza and beer.

You know what’s also super-neat about the PR2 robot? Aside from taxes and shipping fees, you can have one of your very own for only $400,000! Rest assured that they’ll explain every single thing you’ll be getting with the purchase of your “robot system.” I love how they intersperse extremely technical components with stuff like “Wi-Fi.” In case you’re interested in everything you’ll get with the purchase of the PR2 robot, check out this link.

If you’re interested in the other activities its capable of performing, you should know that the PR2 not only plays pool and folds towels, but will also grab you a beer upon request, though I’m not sure if they know the difference between international and domestic; we can always hope.

All of these fancy functions are cool to see, but focusing on these novelties detracts attention away from the things that truly make the PR2 great.

The PR2 is known as a “robot for research and innovation,” a description that I’ll attempt to elaborate upon. Its ROS (robot operating system for all you slow-pokes out there) is completely open source, meaning that anyone can access and use it for making changes to the system or creating their own programs for personal or commercial use. While this makes it sound like Willow Garage is being ripped off, they are instead offering an innovative and awesome opportunity for developers across the world. The PR2 is meant, above all, to serve as a research and development platform. As research facilities and academic institutions across the world already have PR2 robots, the goal that’s being worked toward now involves a combination of efforts from across the world in order to advance the open source community, while making more frequent and faster advancements in the robotics industry.

Do you guys understand exactly how cool this is? One team developed a robot, while a group of scientists across the world can take same robot and program it to perform new tasks. The President and CEO of Willow Garage stated that “the introduction of PR2 SE will only help to grow an already passionate community of researchers, engineers and robotocists.” I can see it happening, and encourage this type of scientific progress completely. Also of note: I’m not sure what is meant by the “SE” in the above quote, so I’m just going to assume that it means “standard edition,” and that they plan on coming out with a collector’s edition later in the year.

Should you be interested in learning more about the PR2 robots, you can check out YouTube for additional videos from by Willow Grove, along with visiting their site.

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Does Working as a Content Monkey Stifle Your Creativity?

Posted on November 29, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Improving your writing skills, Nerd Girl, Style, Words, Writing | Tags: , , , , |

For starters, some of you may be wondering what constitutes a “content monkey.” Its meaning is similar to that of a “code monkey,” if you are familiar with that term. As a freelance writer, the only way to make decent money is by churning out article after article. In this world, your words are used for content that your client posts somewhere on the web – or, if you’re lucky, a newspaper or magazine. Our job is to research and write about whatever topic your client has in mind; there is little to no creative process involved. If your days and nights of freelance writing consist of following a client’s instructions while composing text after text… you have probably morphed into a content monkey. I doubt that anyone who has ever wanted to become a writer aspires to write for others as their lifelong career; yet, this is how many of us get our start and pay our dues. The question now becomes can we, as writers, be satisfied by only writing for others?

content (?) monkey

The most important aspect to the writing process is creativity. How else can you come up with clever topics, witty yet poignant sentences and ultimately a piece of literature that captures the attention of others? However, just like a muscle needs to be worked out to stay in shape, so does the creative process of an author. One must practice. One must write ideas down on paper, only to crumple them up and start over. One must come up with new and innovative material. But, if all we do is write for others, how are we supposed to exercise our creativity? While one might assume that any kind of writing helps you to improve, I have to wonder if being a content monkey doesn’t interfere with our creative processes.

Unlike writing professional articles, which adhere to strict grammatical and style guidelines, writing creatively gives you the opportunity to throw out everything you ever learned and write how you want. Creative writers have to learn to dismiss these rules, writing from their heart instead of their heads — or, if you’d prefer, writing from their right brain as opposed to their left. Unfortunately, after sticking to a set of rules for so long, it’s hard to escape them. Even while I’m trying to do some creative writing, the rules are right there, appealing to the logic center of my brain and putting a halt in my creative process.

I’m not dismissing the perks of being a freelance writer. I think that every writer should strive to become a “renaissance” writer who is capable of producing any type of text required: news articles, short stories, instruction manuals, poetry, romantic copy, advertisements, website content or a novel, for example.

So, how does a writer stop from being cornered by writing manuals and grammar books? I don’t have a solid answer to that question; part of the reason I decided to write on this topic was to explore the idea more, while hoping for some thoughtful feedback from other writers. For me, I try to stay in touch with my creative side by writing blogs – although I still feel pressure to write professionally – and by coming up with ideas for stories. Don’t let this post mislead you; despite my concerns, I still love being a freelance writer. I wouldn’t change a thing… well, except maybe the pay, but that will increase with time (one can hope!)

In my next post, I am planning to talk about the life of the freelance writer in more detail, including ways to start your own freelance writing career and useful tools of the trade. 

Until then…

jt

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Writing Nerdy: My new blog

Posted on November 7, 2011. Filed under: Associated Press Rules, Grammar, Humorous, Improving your writing skills, Nerd Girl, Spelling, Style and Writing Swagger, Vocabulary, Words | Tags: , , |

I wanted to start a blog that offers grammar information, style advice and interesting vocabulary words… so, here it is! *imagine you are at a grand unveiling and they just dropped the fancy velvet curtain they use to disguise the surprise.

As far as posting goes: Ideally, I would post every day; realistically, it will probably only be a few times a week.

I hope everyone gets the joke in my site name. It’s somewhat derivative, so I’ll explain in case you have no idea to what I am referring. There’s a song by a rap artist known as Chamillionaire — I have no idea how they come up with these names — called “Ridin’ Dirty.” Weird Al, as he does best, did a parody of the song and named it “White and Nerdy.”

For those of you uneducated on the Weird Al version:

“Do vector calculus just for fun, I ain’t got a gat but I gotta soldering gun.” Ha, I love it.

As you can deduce, I picked my name because it sounds like “Ridin’  Nerdy.” Oh, I’m sure I’ve made it too convoluted to be funny; that’s alright. It’s a good descriptor: After all, I am writing whilst being a nerdy Caucasian. 😀

Comments are welcome, and encouraged, since I would like to encourage discussions about language. It’s a very interesting topic, even more so when you’re paycheck relies on your handle of it.

Welcome, everyone!

-jt ❤

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