User Input

User Input: Your Particular Flavour

If you don't recognize the reference on Wesley's shirt, you lose your Nerd Card.

There’s a school of thought that states that everyone is a nerd of some description, and that’s why the “nerd culture” has become so fantastically popular in the last few years. Shows like The Big Bang Theory continually pull in huge ratings, and nerd icon Wesley Crusher Wil Wheaton has almost two million followers on that Twittifier thing. Everyone has a secret — or not-so-secret, in our case — nerd side that allows them to identify with that subset of society.

Think about it: everyone has a nerdly aspect that they can lay claim to. Some people know hockey statistics with levels of proficiency that would border on obsessive. Others can rattle off torque specs for post-1964 AMC V8’s. Some can identify a brand and style of shoe at 100 yards. Still others could identify the caliber and brand of a disassembled pistol while blindfolded. And then, of course, there’s Techie.

So what particular brand of nerd are you? We expect a lot of automotive answers, thanks to our cross-pollenation with Hooniverse, so let’s say other than that. What obscure skill or obsession gives you your nerdly street-cred?

  • GlassOnion9

    You keep asking these questions with many answers.

    Well, besides the obvious (motorcycles, cars, guitars) I'd have to say beer, wine, and liquor.

    My cellar:
    <img src="http://www.duke.edu/~mat19/cellar.jpg&quot; />

    • Mmmmmm…beer.

    • pj134

      Hmmm, I'm at the point where I'm making my own stuff and have tried quite a lot, but I still don't feel like a beer nerd.

      • GlassOnion9

        You probably are, even if you don't feel like it.

        I find that an understanding of how it's made and some of the nuances as to what goes into making beer help you automatically pick up on a lot more about the flavor characteristics of non-homebrew. Of course, as the point of this post, I've taken that to the extreme.

        I've done some consulting at local breweries, I've brewed beer out of just about anything that has sugar in it, I culture my own strains of yeast… yeah… beer nerd.

  • tiberiusẅisë

    Is this a trick question?

    • skitter

      And:
      Compared to this group, or the public at large?

  • I'm a bit of a history and geography nerd. This has paid off tremendously playing pub trivia.

    I'm also becoming more of a dog training nerd than I ever thought I would be. I actually get a lot of enjoyment out of talking to people or reading about different techniques to modify behavior. For instance, my dog loves to bark incessantly at anything that walks in front of our house, or on the side street, or across the street, or anywhere where she can even see them. Obviously this is obnoxious to us and the neighbors. Through a little work just over the last few days, I have her to the point where she gets excited, but the barking has been reduced. There's more work to be done (hopefully to a point where she doesn't get very excited at all), but it's a lot of fun!

    • tonyola

      Maps and related stuff are things that genuinely excite me – I guess you could call me something of a map nerd. Google Maps, Google Earth, and Street View to me are the greatest internet time wasters ever. I can pinpoint myself in the boonies with aerial photos and topo maps. I've even created maps and photomosaics for work. I'm put off a little bit if I don't get the window seat in an airplane or I get a seat right over the wing.

      As for the dog barking incessantly, I recommend getting a high-power water gun and zapping her when she starts yapping needlessly. Don't let her see you either – have her think it's a "bolt from the blue". It's a little tricky, because you don't want to discourage her from raising a ruckus over a genuine intruder, so you have to wait until she barks at a distant target. Perhaps you can enlist friends to be the "yappee" so you can set up situations to teach her.

      • I haven't tried the water gun yet.

        What I'm doing right now is making sure she's not outside (or looking out the living room window) unsupervised. When someone is walking by and she gets excited I keep her attention on me and give her treats. If she starts getting too excited I start stuffing her mouth with treats. It seems to be starting to work. Now when she sees someone walking by and wants to get excited all I have to say is "Focus!" and she immediately sits and looks at me waiting for a treat. Now it's a matter of making sure she can do this consistently then weaning her off the treats (and my presence). It's a process (as most training is), but it's a lot of fun and builds the bond between me and her.

      • I might have to try this. I have a water fire extinguisher that would be perfect for this. It shoots a 1/2" stream of water about 50 feet.

        • I should clarify. Our trainer used a water gun (actually, it was a pump bottle with a hose and nozzle from Home Depot) to stop barking in playtime. It works pretty good, and would probably work for Mocha's barking problem. But I read about the treat thing and wanted to try it.

          I guess that's where the nerdiness comes in.

          • tonyola

            Training with treats is a bad idea in general because the dog will expect one every time it does something right, and weaning them off treats is hard. Better to praise the dog as if it's done something heroic. It can be used anywhere and you don't have to worry about keeping praise handy. There's nothing wrong with giving dogs treats, but don't let the dog associate treats with training.

          • If properly weaned off the treats, it shouldn't be a problem. We've done the majority of our training with treats, and then weaned her off of them. Every now and then I'll run through her commands and give her a treat just to reinforce, but for the most part she'll do everything treat-free now.

  • Bourbon and Beer.
    I've got at least 3 different bourbons in the house at any time and they all have their own purpose.
    Evan Williams Single Barrel – smokey and full flavored with a little bite. Also great for making pulled pork*.
    Buffalo Trace – mellow and easy to drink. Not for cooking as flavor is too weak.
    Maker's Mark – For guests. They recognize the bottle & name. I don't particularly care for the flavor or bite.

    12oz. IBC Rootbeer
    2oz. Evan Williiams Single Barrel Bourbon
    16oz. Pork roast

    Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Set to low and let simmer for 6-8hrs.
    Remove pork and pull.
    Add Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Barbecue Sauce to taste.
    Enjoy!

    • acarr260

      My guests "enjoy" what they are led to believe is Crown Royal…

      • GlassOnion9

        Canadian Mist?

        • acarr260

          How did you get that so quickly and accurately?! Have you been spying on me again?!

          • GlassOnion9

            I'm impressed that you care enough to put it in the Crown bottle.
            Hell, I have Crown and lots of other interesting whiskeys (and whiskys) and I still give guests the Mist. From the big plastic bottle.

            No shame.

          • acarr260

            Well, my friends don't care about name brands (in general)… I generally drink macrobrew light beers. I think I'm more interested in the fact that everyone seems to put Crown up on such a pedestal, but it's very rare that anyone notices the switch.

          • I notice it every time I go to the bar and order a crown n coke and they give me jack and coke. Or like last time they upsold me crown black and coke.

          • acarr260

            Well, Crown is a blended whiskey and Jack is a bourbon, so that should be a fairly obvious switch based on the taste. Once mixed with Coke, it's hard for me to tell the difference between a fairly cheap (but not bottom of the barrel) whiskey and top shelf.

          • Jack is a blended Sourmash Whiskey, not bourbon. Jack puts rye in their mash and bourbons must be rye free and 80% corn.

            sorry for being pedantic but it gets drilled in your head as you tour various distilleries.

          • acarr260

            No need for apologies. I've actually toured the JD distillery, so I should know that. I tend to lump sourmash and bourbon into the same group as I prefer a blended whiskey.

          • I'm anxious to try a barrel strength bourbon but the entry price ($100+) is a bit steep.

          • TX_Stig

            Have you had a chance to try unaged bourbon? That's an interesting one. Really gives you an idea of how much flavor really does come from the wood.

          • I have a mason jar of moonshine, if that's what you mean. I quite like it too. As long as it's white lightning and not any of that silly flavored shine.

          • TX_Stig

            That's the stuff. Buffalo Trace is interesting that way, because they bottle an unaged version of their usual product. Makes for interesting comparison.

          • That's not real shine. That's just them bottling the bourbon prior to aging it. And its weaksauce at maybe 80 proof.

            but yes it does make for an excellent comparison to aged bourbon.

          • TX_Stig

            Is that it? Hmm, then the stuff they are bottling and selling is weaker than what they give as samples at the distillery. That was cut down to about 75%. It was funny watching a bunch of sales engineer types trying to shoot that stuff. But, yes, to me the point of that stuff is to see how much flavor comes in as a product of the ageing.

          • I stand corrected. Buffalo Trace White Dog is 125 proof, but still weaker than real moonshine.

            And it's some rough stuff, nothing you want to do shots of. But the idea of watching sales guys do shots is funny!

          • GlassOnion9

            Agreed. There isn't much difference. Especially if you're mixing it. Then I'd be quite surprised if nearly anyone could tell the difference.

          • acarr260

            Even mixed with 7-Up or Sprite, nobody has ever noticed it. The only guy who caught on was drinking it with a splash of water.

      • Crown Royal is best enjoyed when mixed with Royal Crown (RC) Cola.

        My wife makes her hot totties with Jack Daniels Single Barrel. It was a gift and I don't like sourmash whiskey.

        • acarr260

          If you like something sweet, I found a bourbon-ish drink that my girlfriend really likes – Wild Turkey honey mixed with Cherry Coke. It's dangerously good if you like sweet drinks with a big of a kick.

          • I toured Wild Turkey's new distillery last year and tried that wild honey. I concluded at the end of the tour after sampling all of their offerings that they don't offer anything I like.

          • acarr260

            Haha… that's how I came to mix it with Cherry Coke. I couldn't take drinking it on ice straight, but I'm not one to waste (even bad-tasting) liquor.

          • It's a liqueur and meant to be mixed. I've found it tolerable in a snow cone. They actually serve them at the distillery!

          • acarr260

            I'm oddly intrigued by this snowcone idea… that would have never crossed my mind (and I've mixed some odd things together in the past).
            My favorite drink that everyone assumes tastes disgusting is Sunkist and Capt. Morgan. I had to be talked into trying it, but it was pretty good.

          • zaddikim

            Blue Curaçao and Orange Juice. It looks just like engine coolant. It's hard to get people to drink it (especially if the OJ is pulpy) but damn is it tasty.

          • RahRahRecords

            My wife is fond of pineapple soda and The Kraken rum. It would work as well with Sunkist I suppose.

  • PowerTryp

    I'm just a huge general geek with a penchant for TV shows and Automotives. I'm a massive Futurama fan having watched each episode at the very least ten times and capable of reciting lines and singing the songs.

    I'm also developing a love of Sci-fi books both classic and new.

  • Number_Six

    I won't play Trivial Pursuit with non-nerds because I'm tired of people accusing me of having memorized the cards. When I was a kid we didn't have tv, so I read five or six books a week from the time I learned to read until the year I discovered booze and women.

    • Back when I was part of a large church singles group, the standing challenge was me and one or two of my friends (one knew the sports stuff the other one the entertainment stuff) was us against the rest of the group, usually 10-20 people. We were undefeated.

    • acarr260

      Domination in trivia games is somewhat of a nerd right of passage, imho.

    • That booze and women thing takes on a whole new learning experience, eh?

      • Number_Six

        Yes, I should likely write a book now rather than read any more.

  • For me cars, guns, military vehicles/weapons, and history/general trivia. I was an only child and I like to read. I still have a rather massive library I just had to move from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor of my home. I probably have 30-50 feet of shelf space devoted to reference books on cars, guns, and military stuff, that doesn't include the fiction stuff that I have been forced to cull down or the boxes full of old car and gun magazines. We bought some double sided book shelves from Borders when they went out of business. I think I managed to fill a little over 70 feet of shelf space total.

  • jeepjeff

    Let's see, BS in Physics. I know three different flavors of assembly language and I've learned higher level languages in the double digits (yes, I've lost count; I've also forgotten more programming languages than most people ever learn). I'm a professional Linux Systems Administrator (I have previously held software engineering jobs; I'm a sysadmin by choice). Messing with computers is what I did in high school instead of chasing after girls. I know from extensive research and testing that Liquid Nitrogen never gets boring. Yeah, I am a nerd.

    (And the caption is right. You should know the reference on Wil Wheaton's shirt. If you don't, there is something missing from your life.)

    • The Professor

      I guess I'm missing out. Who the hell is Wil Wheaton and why should I give a damn about him?
      And who is this Wesley you keep talking about?

      • jeepjeff

        Wil is a funny enough guy, but his career is hardly required nerd cannon. However, that logo on his shirt…

        • zaddikim

          Seeing the Fruit F***er 2000 on his shirt pulled me into this post and really made my day. I hope he actually wore that on set. BBT isn't actually all that funny for me, but I'd watch that episode.

    • TX_Stig

      Ok, I give up. What's the deal with the robot on the shirt?

      • jeepjeff

        I see you found the original reference below. The FF2000 is a recurring character in PA (usually just as a set piece to make a given comic just a tidge more offensive). Also, the FF2000 shows up in "On The Rain Slick Precipice Of Darkness, Episodes 1 & 2".

        Also: http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2003/06/04

        • The Professor

          Nope. Never seen it before, and I read a lot of comics. Or so I thought.
          Is Penny Arcade some kind of meme or trope? I have a helluva time with those.

          • jeepjeff

            The two gentlemen who run Penny Arcade are hardcore video game nerds and what amounts to being Grand Old Men of the web comic community. I can only think of one web comic that is still around and is older than PA, but the PA guys are far and away the most successful and some of the funniest in the business. It probably helps if you are at least modestly into video games and somewhat aware of what is going on in the industry, though.

      • jeepjeff

        Also, fair warning to anyone looking up the FF 2000:

        <img src="http://get.unshelved.com/strips/20050928.gif"&gt;

        Accurate assessment of Penny Arcade. You have been warned.

  • The Professor

    Who is Wesley?
    What kind of nerd am I? An old one, I suppose. I can't think of anything that I'm particularly nerdy about, really.

    • tiberiusẅisë

      Apparently some people decided that there needed to be another Star Trek TV show. Something about a Next Generation and what not. In typical fashion, they decided to add a cute boy wonder. This boy wonder was Wesley Crusher. Kind of like a Doogie Howser except he never grew up to be Barney Stinson.

      • The Professor

        Ah, you mean the kid hostage character? I never learned his name. I always hoped that they'd make him wear a red shirt so that we could be rid of him.
        So he's popular on Twitter? Whatever, I guess.

      • OA5599

        Barney Stinson never went on a journey with his three friends to see a dead body.

    • REALLY?! REALLY!?

      gauging from your posts here and seeing your work, I'd complement that you're pretty nerdy in woodworking. And sharpening those woodworking tools. I'd also venture to guess you're pretty nerdy about obscure female anime characters.

      • The Professor

        That stuff is nerdy, eh? Well, yeah I guess the cartoon stuff is pretty nerdy, isn't it. I am a pretty cartoony character, so I'll cop to that.

        I am a cartoon and anime nerd. Please don't wash me in solvent or tell the girls how old I really am.

        As for the woodworking and tool related stuff, I always considered that it was just being old fashioned. I'll have to consider the nerdiness of it.

  • Target29

    I used to be able to tell you all the "Winners" of the four major sports leagues in North America from 1967 on. At one point I had memorized all Stanley Cup winners (and opponents) from 1917 on. Now, probably due to learning a new industry (electric motors), I have a hard time remembering my name some mornings.

    • The Professor

      It's the windings. I swear that they interfere with brain waves. Magnet quenches mess my head up too.

      • Target29

        We have modified a motor that interferes with brain waves in other ways…

        <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-t7oZh2fc7HE/T4M64QuyslI/AAAAAAAACYs/hi6yx9fDnh0/s547/3F49C1FE-3357-43B3-975B-8FCDD3BFFA34.JPG"&gt;

        It is mainly used for "Customer appreciation".

        • The Professor

          Hah, that's great! "Pour me a pint of 3-phase 15 hp please"

          • PowerTryp

            Oooh, idea for a micro brewery/pub.

        • zaddikim

          This thread is full of win. That's in the Top 5 Best Beer Taps Ever.

          And I don't even drink anymore.

          • GlassOnion9

            "And I don't even drink anymore. "

            Wait, so what do you do, you know, ever?

            /likely has a problem

          • zaddikim

            Not drink 🙂

            It's been hard sometimes, but I just trudge on, one day at a time.

            Plus there's H'verse, Toasters and Oppo to fill up my time.

  • tonyola

    I've been an environmental engineer by trade and a civil engineer by degree but I've never really been a prototypical nerd per se. If there's anything I'm geniunely nerdy about, it's music. I've been a pro keyboards/sax player for a long time, know my way around musical software and synth hardware, and revel in musical obscurities from the past. I have no idea about the robot on the T-shirt.

  • I'm a Lego and train nerd. People who don't know me well and make the mistake of asking me a simple question about either subjects quickly regret it…
    On the work front, I'm a micro-controller guy (mostly 8 bits, but lately ARM Cortexes are getting really affordable). I program in assembly and C. I've used too many different processors to keep track (whatever has just the right features at a decent cost and will get pass our buyers).
    In one case (the ST7), I know not only the assembler, but how many clocks most instructions take. This comes in handy when doing things like big-banging a 500Kbits/S UART on an 8MHz processor (16 clocks per bits with instructions between 2 and 5 clocks).

    • jeepjeff

      Knowing the proper use of the word 'bit-banging' pretty much does you in. I would say it's BASICally impossible to get to that concept without being a nerd.

    • The Professor

      Hmph. And here all this time I thought that you were a steam guy…

      • Well, the trains are all steam powered. Are there other kind?

  • GI Joe from the 80's. I can see parts of figures and know which one they where for and sometimes what other figures they fit. Vehicles also. Also a huge fan of the cartoon. I still DVR it and watch when I have the chance.

    Lego of course. Cool old sets, newer sets. What Minifig fits with what set and the years it was around.

    • The Professor

      Don't forget reloading…

      • I can't call myself nerd on reloading just yet. It is a pretty challenging thing for me to do right now. I'm still a newb and taking baby steps.

        When I start babbling reloading tables and grain amounts in my sleep, then I will have hit nerd status.

        • Just wait until you start ignoring those MAX loadings and only see them as a good starting point.

          Back 10 or 15 years ago I was heavy into IPSC shooting and would reload several hundred rounds a month, mostly .45ACP, then .40S&W and some other pistol stuff. I just got my reloading bench set back up last year after getting married in 2004. I think I might have reloaded 200 rounds since then. During one 10 month period of unemployment in 2001-2002 I think I reloaded every case and bullet I could find. What little shooting I do these days is still going through that stash.

          I have some crazy ideas I'd like to try. Like getting a 10mm Glock Mech-Tech carbine to make IPSC rifle major. Which would require me finding 220gr bullets and driving them to 1455fps.

          • I really focused on the .40S&W the last few weeks and have a 155gr HP with a lower powder load. I have been shooting better with that load than the Remington 180gr FMJ's. Right now I am accurate at 75 meters. Set up a frying pan, load a mag and listen for "clangs".

            I was hoping to step back to 100 this weekend.

            My .223 reloading is like watching a monkey *&^% a football. I am still getting the hang of it. One time I'll load 500 rounds with not a issue. Next time I can't get a bullet to seat for the life of me.

  • HycoSpeed

    Man oh man, what a loaded question. I am one with a fascination in many topics, and as such have just enough knowledge to be capable of nerding out on all kinds of stuff. Which is why I enjoy my weekends…

    If you are going to twist my arm and make me name a specific, the nerdiest is Star Trek:The Next Generation. I am a product of my age, love the show, and despite knowing all the episodes I will watch re-runs any chance I get. If you want to debate original vs. TNG then let’s nerd on!

  • pj134

    I don't think I nerd out on anything. I like to learn some about a lot of things over everything about one thing. I think that's the only reason people can stand to be around me. Once I go way to far into one thing I come out with the old regional trivia.

    "Really, only a mentally handicapped individual would pick that S13 coupe over the sleek hatch. Plus that has a CA18DET swap that looks like it was performed by someone of the same mental status of a potential owner…"
    Awkward Silence
    "Hey, did you know that Philadelphia used to be renowned for its oysters?"

    • The Professor

      You get pretty nerdy with music stuff, don't try and get all noble on us.

      You've been awfully quiet here lately. I'm suspicious, what have you been up to?

      • pj134

        Huh, maybe I just feel like my nerd out potential really hasn't been reached yet then.I know, I've been neglecting you guys. I was brought on for a new, last minute project at work and it got me chasing carrots. I'll probably be back to normal over sharing by, well, winter…

  • skitter

    Today I:
    – Calculated forces for misused worm gears
    – Finally settled on an order for a mixtape I've been working on for a year.
    – Watched yesterday's AV Undercover. Someone will eventually cover Steely Dan.
    – Checked my movie recommender after a big update yesterday.
    – Disappeared down a rabbithole reading Errol Morris.
    – Worked on a data-logging system for an old driving game that isn't even a simulation.

  • mike england

    I’m not nerdy at all.
    I just happen to think antique Ford trucks are fascinating
    and tanks
    and parachutes
    Particularly tanks that use parachutes.
    Oh, and animal husbandry just a little bit.
    and transportation safety management
    and military history – to a lesser extent perhaps history in general
    other than that, I’m not nerdy at all

  • Aside from old cars and trucks in general, I've been a military vehicle nerd since I was a kid. A nerd for anything military, actually. I satisfied that jones by actually joining the Army long ago, immersed myself in that whole thing, including being a military vehicle mechanic in the National Guard, and qualifying expert on every weapon I got my hands upon. Great fun, even jumped out of airplanes. For the past ten years or so, I've been lucky enough to indulge in another nerdy thing that I've been into since I was a kid, which is Western U.S. history in general, the mining history of Tombstone, Arizona, in particular. It's how I make my living, and it's hands-on, as well. I actually get paid to expound upon this narrow interest of mine (pardon the pun), and I'm learning more and more about nineteenth century mining history almost on a daily basis, as I plunder the excellent collection of books in our local library, goof about online, and explore the system of nineteenth century mine workings that we have here, seeing them for myself. I also am involved in restoring these mines for public view. I've also taught myself to drill holes in rock with a hammer and drill steels, the way it was done in the nineteenth century, and won money in contests with that skill. Being a mining nerd can be hard work, but it works fine for me.

  • zaddikim

    Music, primarily. Started as a drummer and can hack around on bass and guitar. Played with synths, drum machines and sequencers in high school.

    I got started on listening to different genres on two fronts-

    Dad listens to primarily Country and Jazz (interesting mix, I know). Due to record swapping parties (remember those?), I got exposed to King Sunny Ade, Sergio Mendes and Al DiMeola. It just got wierder from there.

    Mom listens to CBC (All hail the Mothership!). It never was all about the Opera or obscure composers (although if that's your bag, Radio 2 is here for you), so getting to hear Zubot and Dawson and Gjallarhorn and so many other interesting artists over the years is probably one of the best things about the CBC.

    Other things I nerd out on- Computers and related industries, languages (verbal, I'm horrible at coding somehow), various science disciplines, firearms (I'm out of the loop on current wares, but a picture of a FAMAS or Steyr AUG makes me fizzy in certain areas), cars (hurrdurr), and so many other things.

    • craigsu

      It wouldn't surprise me if mdharrell had one of these. Actually, it wouldn't surprise me if he was making and selling these.

      • Last time I met mdharrell in person he gave me a box of the damn things.

        And a NOS Lucas vehicle immobilizer.

        • craigsu

          A box of SU shirts or carbs?

          You might need to be more specific about the NOS Lucas vehicle immobilizer. I imagine anything labeled Lucas would have the potential to immobilize a vehicle.

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