Title - Kevin Michael Vance - writer/musician/purveyor of raw materials
Kevin Michael Vance
Writer - Portland, Oregon

When creating this spot for my web page I was trying to think of how I might best not come off as the biggest buffoon on the forehead of this great, big, planet. Then I realized something... I am human. For me this bespeaks volumes. It means that I am fallible, that I am not perfect. I have made mistakes, am making mistakes even as I write this, and will, inevitably, make mistakes in the future. When I wax romantically about myself and my role in this cosmic-shit tub we all dubiously call life I like to think of myself as the warrior- strong, loyal, full of discipline and honor. In reality, there are parts of me that follow those codes, but more to the point, I am a worker, and very proud of that. I finish what I start. I relish the journey. And I live... as well as any 38-year-old white male could hope to live in this world of skewed ideals and twisted attitudes (holy crap! I wrote this drivel five years ago. How time light speeds).

Suffice it to say, here within these "random thoughts" I will contradict myself, I will be wrong in some points and right in others, and I will make mistakes. However, as always, I hope in a small way that you, the reader, might garner a modicum of enjoyment.

Hell! I know I do.

August 26, 2018

I want to talk about what I consider the misappropriation of words.  It's an extremely annoying trend in this country right now.  People love to redefine words.  They love to "make them their own", or "take them back".  For my part, I hate this trend.  Misappropriation comes from an ignorance of not knowing the etymology of a word.  And I for one strive to live in a world without ignorance.  Everyone currently seems to be quick, even eager to denounce a word as “bad”, or “offensive”; albeit their own knowledge of whatever word they think is derogatory usually revolves around the idle whims of a society just as eager and quick to judge, as they are to condemn.  George Carlin (a much more brilliant man than I) called these people the vocabulary police.  These are the same people who want you to think it's offensive to say the word retarded.  It is not.  These are the same people who want you to feel bad about saying the word man, and or, woman.  These are the same people who arbitrarily decide what is right or wrong for the general public at large to speak and even to think.  They want to control vocabulary so they can control thought; most of the time I can ignore these people, because the only thing that exceeds their ignorance is their stupidity.  Normally I can discount this atrocious, obnoxious, venomous group as the inane rantings of semi-crazy people.  However, I now find that even moderate people, people like you and I, you know?... the majority of us that think and feel, are doing the exact same thing.

This brings me rather verbosely to my point- the way that, somehow, the word nerd has superseded the word geek.

I have always been exceptionally proud to call myself, and ultimately define myself by the nomenclature geek.  Geeks are, by and large, some of the happiest people in the world.  They love what they do, and do what they love.  Their passion for art and fiction knows no bounds, and their ability to rattle off inconsequential information on a multitude of inconsequential, but nevertheless, wonderful subjects is awe-inspiring.  I love geeks.  I am a geek.  Sure they (I) have their faults.  Geeks are opinionated and long-winded.  Sometimes I will catch myself espousing the glory of a movie now 30 years old to a child born when I graduated high school and I have to almost physically remind myself that they just might not give a shit.  Geeks often love things to a harmless, but otherwise guilty fault, appropriating things that never existed and building their reality around those things; i.e. Steam Punk, Fantasy, horror… more often than not eschewing the trappings of modern life and reality for the realms found on the screen, in books, in video games, and in their own heads.  They constantly yearn for pasts and ancient ways they perceive as better, but not understanding, or wanting to understand (because that would destroy the illusion) that the pasts and the ancient ways they imagine were better, were in reality ruthless and horrible and dark.  They have a tendency to obsess over minute details involving their favorite sci-fi show or comic book movie or fantasy story, when it would be much better to simply revel in the momentary joy of living. 

Regardless, geeks are by definition lovers- lovers of things, and words, and stories, and characters, and games, and books, and movies.

Again, I love geeks.  I am a geek.


These are airsoft geeks.


This is a Harry Potter geek. Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows midnight book release at Borders

Chicago, Illinois - 20.07.07

Credit: (Mandatory): Sam Wilson / WENN

These are comic book geeks.

This is a LARP-ing geek.

These are multiple LARP-ing geeks.

So it is with much chagrin that I come to the realization that geeks are attempting to shanghai the word nerd. 

How and when this happened I have no idea.  The why of it all is beyond me as well?  But somewhere, somehow, someone convinced other people that it was no longer acceptable to refer to one-self as a geek, instead we had to start calling ourselves nerds. 

I am here to tell you that I do not like it.  No sir and madam.  I do not like it one bit.  I am nowhere close to being a nerd.  I am geek, and I am proud.  Most of my friends and family are indeed geeks. 

I think the thing that upsets me the most is the idea that it is no longer good enough to be a geek.  Now all geeks must be nerds, which is simply absurd.  Or somehow, you ceased to be a geek, you know?... that thing you've been for forty odd years, that thing that got you bullied and teased in high school.  Magically, and overnight, geeks became nerds.  This is blatantly false, and I will never promote nor support this.

Now, can a geek have nerd tendencies?  Of course.  Concurrently, a nerd can have geek tendencies as well.  But by their very definition, geeks are geeks, and nerds are most definitely nerds.  Let us take a look at the etymology of each word. 

Of course, most of us know the origin of the word geek- "a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake".  That is its origin.  However, the word over the years has evolved from its dark, rather brutal, beginnings into the word we now know and love.  Geek- "a person who is very interested in and knows a lot about a particular field or activity".  The latter is a perfect summation of the word geek.  For in essence there is a plethora of levels to being a geek.  There are sports geeks (any man who knows every single athletic statistic of another man is most definitely a geek, or ambiguously heterosexual).  There are movie geeks, book geeks, science fiction geeks, horror geeks and fantasy geeks.  There are cycle geeks, car geeks, and boat geeks.  There are aeronautic geeks, train geeks, and construction equipment geeks.  There are conspiracy theory geeks, big foot geeks, dinosaur geeks.  There are R.P.G. geeks, airsoft geeks, L.A.R.P. geeks.  There are board game geeks, video game geeks, and pin ball geeks.  The world is full of us.  In fact, I would be willing to wager there is a little geek in each and every one of us.

Let us now take a look at the word nerd.  Nerd- "an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially :  one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits".  This last part is very important so at the risk of being redundant, I'm going to repeat it one more time... intellectual or academic pursuits.  Nothing I do as a geek could be construed as intellectual or academic.  When people call me a nerd I correct them, and say, "I am not smart enough to be a nerd.  I am a geek."  I cannot put a computer together with my eyes closed.  I do not find Baryon Asymmetry, or ecliptic alignment of CMB anisotropy fun or entertaining in any way.  The anomalous magnetic dipole moment, or pentaquarks and other exotic hadrons do not get me excited.  I know nothing about quantum physics, nuclear physics, condensed matter physics, biophysics, or quantum gravity.  And to be honest, math just makes me cry. 

Not to put too fine a point on it I am not a nerd.  I am a geek. 

Nerds are awkward, both socially and physically.  If you do anything considered geeky then you know for a fact that it is, more often than not, socially based: you sit around a gaming table with like-minded individuals; you play video games with your friends; you LARP together and talk about Patrick Rothfuss; you talk about movies or books or both while "geeking out" over pacific northwest IPA.  And some geeks are actually quite physically gifted; just watch a LARPer or airsofter rush across the field to trade blows or bb's with his fellow opponents.  Nerds on the other hand have real knowledge, not necessarily tangible (and some of it is nothing but theoretical), but nevertheless real.  Knowledge cultivated from hours upon hours of study, sacrificing dates, and nights out with friends, and any activity that might be construed as social in the laborious, isolated pursuit of knowledge.  Nerds would rather wear outdated clothes and outdated fashion for fear that any neuron spent in an effort to gain an acceptable appearance in regards to society is a neuron wasted.  Nerds are smart and awkward.  Some nerds are what I call "book smarts", meaning they have all the wisdom of a library or a super computer, but I would not trust them to look both ways while crossing the street.  While I was teased relentlessly from grade school and well into high school for my love of fantasy and D&D, nerds were more often than not beaten.  They tend to be physically weak, and mentally powerful.  They tend to emerge from a place of both pain and love; love of science and math and astronomy, pain at being the smartest kid in the class, thereby shunned by others, and treated not as exceptional, but only as weird.  Every character on the show "The Big Bang Theory" is a nerd that displays geek tendencies.  However, they are most definitely nerds, not geeks.  Think of it like this.  You would never say, "hay look at those geeks in the spelling bee."  Or, "look at all those geeks at the science convention."  No.  Those are nerds.  On the flip side, you would say, "wow, the line for the new star wars movie is chock-full of geeks."  You would also say, "there sure were a lot of geeks at the Rush concert."  And you would most definitely say, "Damn!  Comic-con!  Nothin' but a bunch of geeks!" 

To demonstrate my point further, below are some photos of some famous nerds.

Science nerd.

Apple nerd.

Microsoft nerd.

Possibly the greatest nerd of all time.

Cool-ass space super nerd!

In short and in final let us, as geeks, start the healing. 

Repeat after me: "We are not nerds.  We are geeks.  We are not smart enough to be nerds.  But we can be geeks.  And that's good enough." 

Stop the madness.  Stop the lies.  And be proud of who you are.  One more time- I am geek, and I am proud.


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June 15, 2018
One more truth among many...

And the truths just keep comin':droppin' 'em like grenades... like a mic'!  Whatever.

The image below represents a stop light, and or, stop light traffic signal.

For as long as I have been in Portland (over 20 years), Porltanders have had a very difficult time understanding the three different color codes.  (Much as it pains me, I cannot blame this particular failing on Mellenials or California transplants.)  Allow me to define each color now. 

Red- means stop.

Yellow- measn "proceed with caution".

Green- means go.

The color in which all of you seem to struggle the most with is green.  Green means go.  It does not mean to continue texting or snapchatting or yelping or tweeting or googling or checking email.  Green means go.  Put down the coffee and the cellphone and pay attention to what you are doing; which is simply disobeying the law.  Gods, I get so frustrated with self-entitled self-absorbed morons who either do not know the rules, or believe that the rules do not apply to them.


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June 05, 2018
Mr. Ray Bradbury...

Six years ago we lost one of this countries greatest authors. Six years without another story. Six years his voice silent, his poetic prose inert. Six years without his particularly skewed, imaginative, and dark brilliance. Mr. Ray Bradbury is sorely missed. If you haven't read him, do yourself a favor and do so. If you haven't read him in years, pick up "Something Wicked this way Comes" or "The Illustrated Man" or "Fahrenheit 451" or the "The October Country" or "R is for Rocket" or any one of the amazing, fantastic and weird stories he has graced us with throughout his incredible life and relive the magnificence, the majesty and grace of the author- Ray Bradbury.


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May 31, 2018

All right, you misguided misinformed misanthropes, Uncle Kevin is going to, as the kids like to say, drop a few truths for you. We hold these truths to be self-evident; not under some imaginary god, but under the evidence of human emotion and human thought and physical reality. If you do not hold these truths to be self-evident then you, sir and madam, are idiots. Now this rant is distinctly and uniquely directed at the swarming plethora of self-entitled Portlanders, or, as the case is becoming more and more painfully apparent, all you Californians recently moved into my beloved and drenched city. So, shut the fuck up, put on your big-boy boxers and your big-girl panties, step outside of your self-righteous bubble and let a man who has lived shy of half a century some much needed time to talk.

Truth number one-You know that sign that has recently popped up on Portland city streets... the one with the pedestrian and the bicycle image?  This sign-

And this one-

The first sign is called a “Multiuse Path Crossing”, and it is defined as thus- “Bicyclists and pedestrians regularly cross the road in the area.”  The second one is a bicycle crossing sign.  Neither of these signs means that you should stop for bicycles when they are stopped at a stop sign or stop light.  I repeat (at this point, I should apologize for shouting, because I’m about to shout)… IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU STOP FOR BICYCLES. Let me say it just one more time- IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU STOP FOR BICYCLES! Bicycles are required by law to follow the same rules as a motor vehicle, with only a few exceptions. You, as a driver of a motor vehicle, should never yield to a bicyclist who stopped at a stop sign; you, as a driver of a motor vehicle, do in fact have the right of way. The point is stated quite clearly in the Portland Bureau of Transportation leaflet “Rules of the Road and Safe Riding tips” we share the road. And the optimal word here is SHARE. Bicyclists do not own the road, nor do motor vehicles, for that matter. Don’t be an idiot. Follow the fuckin’ rules. (That goes for you too. I see you! You flannel-wearin’, skinny-jeaned, hairy-faced, ridin’ with no light, no reflectors, and no helmet hipster!)

Truth number two-

It is illegal… I repeat, ILLEGAL to park on the wrong side of the street. I don’t care if you’re dropping your sniveling little brats off at Tae Kwon Do or delivering a kidney, it is, and always has been, illegal to park on the (in this country) left side of the road. (Unless, of course it’s a one-way street. I know what I’m talking about. I’ve “googled” this shit!)

Truth number three-

When speaking into your asinine cell phone on “speaker” phone, you are in fact yelling into your asinine cell phone. I know you think you’re not yelling, but you are. Just stop it. I certainly do not wish to be privy to the unfortunate and somewhat nauseous meanderings of your inept life; nor does anyone else in the grocery story or whichever public arena in which you deem it necessary to have an egregiously loud and private conversation.

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