Sunday, December 23, 2012

To boldly go...

A couple of days ago I posted on Facebook that my geekness has been changing lately, thanks to Neil deGrasse Tyson.

"Yay, science!" chorused my friends.

But,'s not really about Dr.'s more of a Wheaton thing and...[sigh] must explain.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about science. "Yay, science!" is a cheer I can get behind. But Neil deGrasse Tyson lives squarely in my old geekitude. I've loved him since he first appeared on Nova Science Now--before he was the host. And I practically grew up in the American Museum of Natural History, where he works. My grounding in science entertainment goes back a long way, to the days of watching Nova and Life on Earth and The Living Planet with my dad as a kid. Even though Dr. Tyson isn't old enough to have appeared on those shows, his style of education is rooted in that same place and I've been that kind of geek forever. So even though Startalk was the catalyst for the change, Neil deGrasse Tyson isn't the focus of it.

I tried to plot the vectors of the change, and found it can't be done, but here's the narrative:

It started with Neil deGrasse Tyson, went through Wil Wheaton, past The Big Bang Theory, bounced off Eureka, and went back through Wil Wheaton via Tabletop and into games, writing and the dark places of the interwebz.

At a later time, it started again withe Neil deGrasse Tyson, went via my husband and bounced off of Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton and landed in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

And in the end, I wound up at a game shop buying Boo her first gaming dice and then spending a sick Sunday with Hopper watching a TNG marathon.

I'm not claiming to have ever been anything other than a geek. I always loved learning. I've always been the person around who knew all the rules, all the background, and most of the details. Hopper decided to marry me when I said that Star Wars was three of my favorite movies, I read, I'm fairly tech-literate, I went to one of those elite, East-Coast colleges you're always hearing about. I'm a geek.

But neither gaming nor Star Trek had ever been my thing. I was conversant in both--my brother played D&D when we were growing up, so I played a little and sat in on more than a few sessions. I know a d6 from a d10 (but always have to look closely to tell a d12 from a d20) and I can throw around terms like RPG, GM and NPC without confusion. I can't say I ever watched a Star Trek show regularly, but I saw enough episodes to know the differences between Star Trek, TNG, Voyager and Enterprise, and I once made a joke about Deanna Troi that I'm still really proud of (but you had to be there.)

So when I first heard Wil Wheaton on Startalk, I had to ask Hopper who Wesley Crusher was, but when he explained, I totally remembered "that kid." And so began my adventures in a new kind of geekitude. Adventures that I plan to blog about here.

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