Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Thoughts: Library visit + final #SpeakGeek post

First, the results of my weekly library trip:

Picked up this week:
Sweetly - Jackson Pearce
This Thing Called the Future - JL Powers
Dust and Decay - Jonathan Maberry

Still have from last week, haven't started:
The Floating Islands - Rachel Neumeier
Wrapped - Jennifer Bradbury

Finishing now:
Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America - Jeff Ryan (will be finished and reviewed for Nonfiction Monday this coming week! Really enjoying this book; it's absolutely fascinating, even to someone like me who isn't a hardcore gamer)
Don't Stop Now - Julie Halpern (all nerds need to check out Into the Wild Nerd Yonder for its awesome look at high school D&D and LARPing)

Read This Week:
She Loves You, She Loves You Not - Julie Anne Peters (Peters writes awesome lesbian angsty romance. Unfortunately, the rest of the book kind of falls apart, since 90% of the drama hinges on something that could be solved with one conversation)

Usually I end up reading more than one book in a week, but Super Mario is pretty big, and I haven't even finished it yet - I've got one more chapter to go, I think, and it's too big of a book to justify carrying on the subway for such a short amount left to read! Need to finish it this weekend though, so my husband can take it with him when he travels for work (boo).

I've been debating what to write for my final Speak Out with your Geek Out post, and finally decided just to go big:

I am an internet geek.

I know it sounds kind of vague, but seriously? I love the internet. Not blogging, not Twitter, not news sites, not chat rooms.

The Internet.

Getting the internet at home back in 1997 absolutely changed my life. We weren't cutting edge by then - I was  hardly the first of my friends with a computer, and I'd been on the internet in school for a few years at that point. But I had some advantages some of my friends didn't - namely, after a few months my parents started trusting me enough to let me go on the internet without supervision (for you young'ns - this was before Net Nanny software and all of that - supervision when I was 13 meant my mom literally sitting just over my shoulder, watching the AOL chatrooms I was in!).

I wasn't yearning to do anything too crazy at that point, but it did mean I had the freedom to interact with people my "real life" friends couldn't, because their parents were sure everyone on the internet was a pervert.

I met my first internet friends in an old chat room called Trekker Chat. It was a great way for young little me to get my feet wet in internet friendships, because my parents ended up joining the chatroom too. Even if we weren't on at the same time (impossible, since we only had one computer!), people knew that little Bellana's parents would be coming around later, so don't hassle the kid.

I also wasn't the only kid of an adult chatter in the room, and it was there that I first met someone other than myself and a few school friends who read the Animorphs books. And thus began my first forays into maintaining websites, writing fan fiction, and developing some of the best friendships I had in my life.

Through high school I had a sprawling online social life, one far more active than anything in school. I was friends with people of all ages, from a few years younger than me up through people as old as my parents. I would have long chats on ICQ with people all around the world. While other kids were sneaking out in the middle of the night to party, I was staying up until 4, 5 or 6 in the morning to put the finishing touches on my latest fan fic masterpiece.

I did have real-life relationships at this time too, just so you know. My two best friends in high school stood up for me at my did one of my best online friends from this time (a friend I never actually got to meet in person until after I'd asked her to be in the wedding! I sent her an e-mail and was like "Uh, I know this could be totally weird to you, so just know that if you say no I won't be offended or anything! But will you be one of my bridesmaids???"). I did theatre all through high school, and book club after school and in the summers. But in my first year of college, when I had to write a speech about a community I belonged to? I wrote about an Animorphs fan fic mailing list 1) to be sure I had an original speech subject and 2) to honor a group of people that were no less real to me, just because we only interacted via e-mails and instant messages.

During college my internet socializing backed off a little - thanks to those stupid things called "classes," but after college my internet usage, as well as TV watching!, picked right back up. Instead of focusing on Animorphs and fan fiction, however, I've moved into book blogging. Just like in my Star Trek and Animorph super-fan days, I've met bloggers in real life, and even attended conventions dedicated to my hobbies. For some reason these aren't looked at with fear and skepticism like they used to be - is it because I'm an adult now? Internet friendships are more recognized? I'm working online on something that's at least tangentially related to the career I'm pursuing? I don't know.

And alongside book blogging folks, I'm accumulating a whole new set of friends now that I've joined an MMO - City of Heroes. I've got a role playing supergroup that is pretty epic - both in terms of role play and the people that are in it. I've actually just set up Skype on my work computer, since that's the chat client of choice among my fellow superheroes, so we can keep in contact during the day.

I've also totally jumped on the Google + bandwagon - though I am the sort of internet geek that notes that it has some ridiculous shortcomings that are going to prevent it from reaching its full potential. Sigh.

The internet is so much more than a mere tool for me. It's a gateway to entertainment, information and communication. And perhaps most importantly, it facilitates a new way to find communities and build and maintain relationships all around the world.

So out of everything I geek out about, I'd really have to say the internet is what I'm most passionate about. Because without it, so many of my passions never would have had a chance to flourish.

For more Speak Out with your Geek Out posts, be sure to check the official site. Also, on this week's episode of A Couple of Geeks, I shared my geek love for YA lit!
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