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Paint Your Miniatures

“I wish I was a bigger nerd, then I could rule a bigger part of the world”. – Steve

Say it Loud, Say it Proud

Hello, my name is Jeff and I’m a nerd. Lets face it: We’re all nerds. I build computers in order to play PC games. I research the latest and greatest PC hardware, read games related magazines and web sites, all in order to spend countless hours in front of my monitor playing games. And you, you are reading my blog, which makes you partially guilty by association right there, nerd.

A new PC.

Now now now, don’t get yourself all worked up. Come on, dry those eyes. Being a nerd isn’t such a bad thing these days. I speak in general, of course. There are varying degrees of nerd-ism and the depths of social retardation know no limits but many successful nerds have paved the way for the rest of us to relax a little bit whenever we walk past a frat house or a locker hall. For a pinnacle of nerdy financial success we can look to Bill Gates. He’s like king of the nerds. Seth Green, actor and co-creator of Robot Chicken is like nerd chic, not quite as rich and powerful but much more well liked. Everybody knows George Lucas is a huge nerd, even though he has fallen from grace in most nerds’ eyes (this nerd included). Even Vin Diesel sports solid nerd cred as he tattooed his favorite D&D character’s name “Melkor”, a half-Drow witch hunter, across his stomach. Now who in their right mind would give Vin Frigging Diesel a wedgie and try to jam him into a locker?

And then there are the rest of us, the daily rank and file nerds. We may not have tattooed our character’s names on our bodies, speak Klingon, or even know how to code, but we all have our nerdy moments. Some more than others.

My sister and I were in a “nerd shop” (this term applies loosely to any store carrying comic books, video games, or RPG materials), when we overheard a conversation between a store employee and a local patron. The conversation was regarding another nerd who took part in the store’s weekly Warhammer games competition (a tabletop miniatures strategy game) but had somehow upset this local patron (I’m going to call him Mr. Pit-Stains). Mr. Pit-Stains was expressing his disdain for this nerd, relating his odd gaming behaviors and his lack of nerdiquette citing his sole purpose of playing Warhammer was just to win. It was clear this nerd didn’t really care about the core of the game or any back story. Exasperated Mr. Pit-Stains exclaimed: “He doesn’t even paint his miniatures!” My sister and I glanced at each other, snickered a little, left the store, and laughed all the way home.

“Painting your miniatures” has become the unofficial identifying slogan for nerds who keep it real, even if you don’t actually own any pewter ghosts or goblins. Bill, Seth, George and Vin have all painted their miniatures, metaphorically and literally. Do you? Now bringing your D&D books or Magic the Gathering cards to your school or public library is a bit much, also begging for a butt kicking even from lesser nerds, but still, those who do wave their nerd banner proudly. Despite the fact that social camouflage is a skill most wise nerds take at their first level some still struggle with it, or just don’t care. Those of us who have learned the value of staying off radar would never judge a fellow nerd for keeping their head down.

I’m talking about realizing you are a nerd, accepting it, and embracing it. You shouldn’t be ashamed of being a nerd if you enjoy it. The nerdy arts, once on the fringe, are more mainstream now than you may think. Look at the popularity of video games. Atari was big in the 80s, then Nintendo was a little bigger, but still very nerdy. Then came the Playstation and console games were becoming more sophisticated, like PC games were but not quite as nerdy (fewer buttons, less thinking). Now the current generation of video games is undeniably the most popular era ever with development costs sometimes in the millions. How about movies? Lord of the Rings, anyone? They tried very hard to make those movies appeal to a larger audience removing many preciously nerdy parts from the books and still ended up with a beautifully nerdy movie that everybody and their dog went to see. Of course hard core nerds will scoff at the unwashed masses who now jump on board the S.S.J.R.R. Tolkien with inaccuracies between the movies and the books, but the point is now everyone knows what a Hobbit is.

There are nerds all around us every day. That skinhead in front of you at Taco Bell with “Balthor” tattooed on the back of his neck might turn out to be a bigger nerd than you think.

In the interest of brotherhood and nerd solidarity I will now come out of my nerd closet on this blog:

My name is Jeff and I am a nerd. I have thousands of video games (probably close to 25,000 including all emulated titles, sometimes you just need to play Donkey Kong in Japanese). I have a large collection of D&D 3.5 books and a few old school AD&D manuals, and I still run a semi-regular weekly gaming night where I usually am the Dungeon Master. I recently bought about 15 Warhammer books from the nearby Borders Book Store when it went out of business. I still have my Darth Vader case full of original Star Wars figures that I will someday give to my kids… someday. I recently went to a used bookstore hunting for a copy of the Lord of the Rings books released prior to the movies just so I could enjoy it in its purest form, without a picture of Legolas on the cover. I love games. Not Monopoly or Clue. I’m talking Munchkin, Guillotine, Fluxx, Gloom, Settlers of Catan, Zombies. I have tons of Magic the Gathering cards, Star Wars cards, X-Files cards, Buffy the Vampire Slayer cards, etc. One of my favorite movies of all time is King of Kong, a Fist Full of Quarters doccumenting the struggle between the two Donkey Kong world champions fighting each other for the ultimate high score. I love 80s thrash metal and have struggled with the fact that no matter what I think, its still nerdy, VERY nerdy. I have tons of painted, unpainted and pre-painted miniatures and some day I will paint again. One of my biggest regrets in life is when I sold most of my comic book collection (3 1/2 long boxes full) to a store for 125$. It was a time of desperation but I will always regret that decision.

and all the sports, bungee jumping and surfing I enjoy won’t change the fact that I am a nerd at my core and always will be.

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2 responses

  1. This just in: having researched the Vin Diesel tattoo a little further, I have discovered that it was a fake tattoo applied only for his role as Xander in XXX. His nerd cred has diminished slightly (I’m NOT going to tell him) but I’m mostly confused why Mr. Diesel had a nerdy fake tattoo in an extreme sports / fart eater action movie anyways (http://boonmovies.blogspot.com/2011/08/chick-flick-vrs-fart-eater.html). Is he trying to make extreme sports nerdier or D&D more mainstream lowest common denominator?

    October 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm

  2. Treeball, that was awesome. And I’ve always wondered where that, “He doesn’t even paint his miniatures,” came from.

    And thanks for the link. 😉

    December 11, 2011 at 11:39 pm

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