There are certain things I can imagine a life without:
- Those darned stickers that seal CDs and Blurays
- Ads that interrupt videos on Youtube or Facebook (and, no, they’re not like commercials because TV shows are designed with commercial breaks in mind and these darned things are just dropped in all willy-nilly)
And then there are things I can’t imagine a life without. Their absence would make life more difficult and boring or less colorful and entertaining. Here’s my Top 7 List of Nerdy Things I Couldn’t Live Without (in no particular order, save for #1. It is definitely #1).
Top 7 Nerdy Things I Couldn’t Live Without
7. Tabletop Role Playing Games. Nerds on Earth writer Clave pointed out to me recently how much he loves the fact that there was a time when I staunchly and stubbornly avoided tabletop RPGs, but now they’re my main nerdy pursuit.
Back in the day, I drew a hard line at tabletop RPGs: I might be nerdy, but at least I’m not that nerdy, I‘d say.
Oh…oh poor, naive Earth Nerd Adkins. If only you knew then the joy, the creativity, the self-expression, or even the escape that tabletop RPGs would afford you! Now I’m DMing three Dungeons and Dragons 5e campaigns and playing in a 5e, Pathfinder, and Starfinder campaign.
It absolutely enriches my life.
It used to be that video game consoles were my Number One Jam, but now my XBOX One collects dust while I collect dice, minis, and reference books. It is also one of the primary ways I stay in touch with friends from all over the state and deepen those relationships: By killing their PCs.
6. Podcasts. I was a late adopter of the podcast medium, but now I can’t get enough of them.
Seriously…it is downright impossible to find the time to stay current on all of the podcasts that have my heart.
- The Glass Cannon Podcast
- Sneak Attack!
- The Adventure Zone
- Crit Juice
- Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men
And those are just the ones we’ve talked about here at NoE; not even close to a comprehensive list of all the ones I’m subscribed to.
Obviously I scratch the tabletop RPG itch by living vicariously through live play podcasts, but I also love the research monster podcasts that are just huge, glorious information dumps. Because I’m a nerd.
5. Slack. A couple years ago, I’d never even heard of Slack. Now I use it literally every day, several times a day to stay in touch with a whole bunch of nerds. We get into /giphy wars, check in on one another’s lives and well beings, share news, offer unsolicited commentary on all sorts of subjects, and even play some Pathfinder!
There are days when the banter and camaraderie of Slack are the only reasons I maintain my sanity.
4. Conventions. I am not a people person. I do not do well in crowds. And yet I cannot go a year without placing myself right in the middle of tens of thousands of like-minded, nerdy individuals.
We don’t have to like all the same things. In fact, I prefer that we don’t! The diversity and variety experienced at a convention like Dragon*Con has lead me to new loves and interests over the years.
And the gatherings don’t even have to be stadium capacity events! I love slipping into the basement of my friendly local gaming store/comic shop and, by doing so, enter into a judgment free zone where I can love what I love without criticism. On the contrary: My nerdy pursuits are embraced, celebrated, and participated in.
These safe spaces have played such a tremendous part in my life.
3. Wikis. While a lot of nerds out there communicate in manners that suggest otherwise, it is impossible to know everything about everything–even about the things you love most.
Enter the wikis. These beautiful, often crowd-sourced websites of curated content are made possible by knowledgable nerds for the sake of other others nerds.
Behind on 300 issues of Wolverine? There’s a wiki for that.
Want to know more about Wookie culture? There’s a wiki for that.
Curious about the official power set of a character on one of Marvel’s television series? There’s a wiki for that.
They’re like apps, man. If you can think of a need, there’s likely a corresponding wiki.
Wikis are dark, bottomless rabbit holes and I love them. You go to learn a bit more about one character or event and that page has thirty other hyperlinked articles and pages…and so do each of those thirty. Next thing you know you’re late for work or forgot to sleep.
It is the best.
2. Hive minds. Hive minds are like subjective, organic wikis. You ask a question or seek advice and watch the comments roll in. I’ve been known to post to a 5e or Pathfinder group mid-session for rules questions!
There are some drawbacks:
- The guys who think your question is stupid and choose to insult you/your question instead of just ignoring it and refraining from a comment.
- The “um…actually” folks who squander creativity with rules lawyering.
- The 100s of Facebook notifications.
But then there are the benefits:
- The encouragement of new ideas and first-time players/DMs.
- Helpful advice and answers.
- Awesome stories from different tables and campaigns.
- The ability to participate in the hive mind’s benefits yourself without contributing to the drawbacks and thereby making them better places for all.
1. Other nerds. All of the other entries on this list were given in no particular order, but this one is the undisputed champ.
I’m not sure I would have developed into a nerd all by myself.
And I’m 100% sure I would not be the nerd I am without my nerdy friends.
They complete me and they make the world a little more beautiful and tolerable.
You guys are awesome.
What would comprise your Top 7? Find us on Facebook and let us know in the comments!