Kitchen Geek

Well, I guess it is a stereo type that girls know how to cook and should really like it. Yeah, I fall into the stereotype but not in the way you might think from the movies and such.

I grew up in a household where the gender roles were swapped. This just meant that my mom loved doing yard work and my father preferred to do all the cooking. While my father is a great cook his meals tend to be, well, quick and more pantry oriented than fresh food. It has helped me save money over the years but people tend to stare at me when they ask where I learned to cook. It also didn’t help that I knew more about cooking from Hamburger Helper boxes and reading the labels on cans. But you play the hand you are dealt. However, I blame dad for helping me figure out how to make some mean nachos and breakfasts.

I like to say dad cooked more like a bachelor. I didn’t get any big family meals unless my mom or grandparents cooked. They big hearty Southern and Swedish meals just came from extended families. Beyond that I taught myself how to cook. I started with a few staple party dishes when I was in college. I was the girl who always brought salmon with dill butter. Usually went over well but when I met Vox, who isn’t a big fish fan, I had to learn a few new plates.

I started with dinners. Why? Because I was dating a wonderful guy and was short on funds. So, food stamps here I come. I went through recipes online and even learned to modify recipes for new friends with chocolate and onion allergies. Now I have at least 10 recipe books. I have at least 25 staple foods I make per year.

Including:

  • Truffles: at least 3 flavors
  • Spritz Cookies
  • Caramels
  • Sugar Cookies
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies + the modification without chocolate
  • Spiral Honey Ham
  • Herb Butter Chicken
  • Mash Potatoes
  • Strawberry Cakes
  • Various cordials

There are more but I think you get the idea.

Now that I cook so much I find myself walking slowly through kitchen sections thinking, “does that product really make it easier?” or “Man I could really use a roasting pan. I’ll start pricing.” Things that when I was younger were just the boring section of the store are now the most interesting. I look for style in my serving ware and pricing. I have learned the difference between quality and price. For instance, I’ll start pricing something at a nice place and then realize when I have looked other places that the quality is worth the price. The older I get the more often I tend to just go for the low price at the best stores.

But part of my huge Amazon Wish List are things like a new kettle, cast iron dutch ovens, cute egg timers and the like. I love trying to find great cookbooks too. Which can be hard when you look for low fat and no fish.  Then there are the geeky utensils like the Star Trek pizza cutter or the all edges brownie pan.  I even have a brownie pan that cuts the squares for you.

I guess I have geeked out about my kitchen a bit lately. I like finding stuff on reduced prices and I did that today. Nicely before Black Friday and Thanksgiving.

Once again, a thing I didn’t think was geeky but got me going some how into a full blog post. What do you geek out about that isn’t quite geeky?

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You can be both

Over arching question of my adult life. Why can’t I be both? It is said I am like my grandfather who would look at options on a dinner table and say, “I’ll have a little of each.” People laugh at that story but it is true. We say you can’t have it all but in my life I have always wondered why? Why do I have to choose just one? I grew up being told, you can be anything you want in life. No one said you had to be just one thing but it was the ape in the room.

I can do Both jobs

In college I graduated with a degree in Advertising.  I took both creative and management classes because in advertising agencies you have people who design and others who arrange things with the clients.  So, I was educated in both.  However, when I was graduating from school I was told by many different professors to choose to either be a creative or management.  I disagreed.  Having also doubled majored so I knew the value in knowing both sides of the business.  Now I have worked in many different positions in both agencies and in the private businesses with my knowledge of both creative and management serving me equally well.

This experience has allowed me to have variety of jobs.  Not just doing one thing for many companies but I have worked in marketing, public relations, online media, and event planning.  Employers look at my resume now and are nervous that I have done too many things.  Something I never thought would happen.  But doesn’t that make me well-rounded?  I can do just about any communications job under the sun because of the crazy number of jobs and experiences I have had.  I truly have been lucky enough to do a little bit of each.  I have created forms so that a creative process is easier to track and I have written all the wording for entire websites.

Smart and Fat

When I was growing up in a small town I was the fat kid in my class.  I am sure you have heard the story if you read my first post.  But being the fat and unpopular girl in my class of 33 people was an issue.  There were only maybe 5 fat girls in my high school.  We were marginalized.  Some of us had learning disabilities and others just didn’t do sports like me.  So, it was assumed that because I was fat I was also stupid.  You have heard the sound of people’s voices when they make fun of you.  They make you sound dumb.

I fiercely refused to be that person.

I grew up in a family that watched History Channel, Discovery Channel and PBS every night.  We visited museums on vacations and my brother and I NEVER complained.  My mother tried to get me into a high math class because of my test scores but even the adults refused to move me up because I wasn’t the type.

I refuse to take it.

I took advance courses as quickly as I could.  I had an online Spanish class and took advanced English.  I read classics by choice like Siddhartha, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens.  I could explain Shakespeare to my fellow classmates and even outwitted a history teacher talking about the New York City draft riots portrayed in a history of the Gangs of New York documentary I had seen the day before.  I graduated with honors being ranked 3rd in my class.  I was the only person in that class to get early admissions into a major university.

I wanted to prove that you can be a plus size woman and smart.

You CAN be both

I guess what I am trying to say is don’t listen to what people say.  You can like Dr. Who and Torchwood.  You can create games and like football.  You can be a brony and be in the Marines.  I know that you can have both.  The thing you should know though is that having both also means that you may have to work twice as hard.  That is because people won’t understand your choices.  They will try to tell you how to be normal but all you have to be is yourself.

I’m Not a Video Gamer

So, yeah, I am not a geek who plays video games.  I played a little bit of Mario Brothers with my brother, and my boyfriend but still get upset.  I am nowhere near as good as the people I sit next to.  So, how am I suppose to keep up?  I am also not the type to play by myself after a frustrating day.  Doesn’t exactly help when I can’t figure out how to jump, use the awesome thing I just got or kill a goomba.

Part of me feels like less of a geek because of this.  The old definition is, plays video games, reads all scifi and fantasy, plays RPGs, etc.  But I can’t always deal with playing video games.  The only one I can play constantly is Super Smash Brothers.  That is because no one is trying to do anything together.  I can’t deal when someone kicks me off the screen but I can deal with it if I am fighting against you.

I guess that is why Heros of Might and Magic worked so well.  I needed someone to compete against.  I could conquer things and see where I had been and what I had won.  So, I could say I got something.  Same thing happens with Smash Bros. because you can see the loot you got or how many kills you got.  I need a little success in my life I guess.

Maybe I need someone to teach me how to play.  My brother may have tired but that was over 20 years ago now.  My friends and boyfriend kinda expect me to know how to play and when I ask how to play it is during combat.  Plus can anyone tell me where in the game there is a how to section so I can learn how to use the fricking controller?  I get tired of all the guess work and comparing it to a previous game in the system doesn’t help me one bit.

I don’t know if others have experienced this but when I play with a group of girls on Super Mario Bros or another corporative video game I seem to have a better time.  It seems that my girlfriends are more patient even if there is a time limit because we know that no one wins if just one of us makes it through most of the level.  But I find for boys that they just want to win and it doesn’t matter who gets to the end because everyone is happy about it in the end.

It could be due to my introverted nature but I always seemed to feel better about games like pinball rather than the video game consoles at the arcades.  I even had issues at an arcade party a friend had getting upset and needing to stop playing because I could feel the throwing the controller gamer rage.  But the only person who stopped me was my friend J-chan.  She slowed me down somehow.  I was a little peeved at the time but kept playing.  After a while I got the rules of the game and started to win.  I asked her if she was letting me and she wasn’t.

For me I really need a set of rules to start, a glossary or forum to look things up in and a friend who will help me calm down rather than throw my controller at the screen or leave in a huff.

The City

My frist obession I can think of is the city. When you grow up in a town of 300 people you will do anything to not talk to your cousin everyday. However, it is outside the definition of geek that I grew up with. It is also one of the few geekdoms I found for myself except for the introduction.

My mother was good to take us to Portland (the largest city in my state) to keep us open to ideas outside of a small town. I enjoyed every minute of it and relished going on the 3 hour drive to Portland. I knew places to visit and I could watch people and they wouldn’t mind. A place where I could honestly get lost in a crowd and no one would know my name. I loved the art galleries, museums and ridding the Max. I still love reading all the homeless signs too. Then the architecture. You could just feel the history around you.

Everything was so close together and right there. You could walk everywhere and it was most times easier than driving. I dreamed simply of walking to the grocery store and walking back to my apartment with the nights dinner supplies.

When we were in Saturday Market I thrived on the foreign and different. The farther away it was the better it was. The more India, Chinese, Japanese, African, Russian the better. I never went for florals but went straight to hippy from my conservative town. It was all new and much of it was in fact shiny like belly dancing shashes.

But the more metropolitan it was the better it was for me. I even tried to be very trendy in middle school wearing heels and dressing like I walked out of the InStyle magazines. I figured city girls wore stylish clothes so I would become one of them. Didn’t get me friends but helped my self esteem a little.

The first chance I got in high school I got dressed up in a casual but stylish outfit and walked around downtown of Victoria, BC while I was on a family vacation. It was one of the best 3 hours of my life. I was independent, stylish and in the middle of something bigger than myself. I loved that time so much that I still visit there once a year if I can.


I loved all that was city and foreign and it didn’t always matter what it was. I think that intense love of the city and wanting to share all these experiences with my friends makes it a personal geekdom.

Other’s Geekdoms Becoming My Own

I’ve always been good at geeking out. I once said in an interview, “I can get excited about anything.” Yep, I really said that to a possible employer thinking that would get me a great internship. And nope, it didn’t work. But it was true about most of my life. Show me something that you think is epic and I want to experience it with you.

In college, I didn’t really know anyone at all. Coming from such a small school didn’t lend itself to seeing anyone from anywhere I may have possibly known from my hometown. Once again, I can count them on one hand. I was luck enough to have a dorm-mate who loved Rocky Horror Picture Show and had tried out for the Forbidden Fruit shadow cast which was a university group. She invited me to join at the first rehearsal as she knew they still needed cast. So, I came and realized, “They talk at the screen just like me?!”  Safe to say I was hooked and tried in vain to create my own callback lines that didn’t always work. They invited me to be Eddie which I was on cast for 3 years performing.  That became my geekdom for a while. I even tested a new campus pastor by mentioning in passing that I was part of the cast and when he didn’t flinch I knew he was awesome.

Rocky Horror was the beginning of a beautiful geekdom. It help me see that there were cool people in Eugene. I ended up finding a geeky place in Ballroom Dancing, the SCA and even a small amount of anime (starter of Fullmetal Alchemist) along with a full dose of Discovery Channel.

It also help me connect with my current friends.  Realizing I had been to see an 18 and over show in Portland that she was at.  We now attend the local cast at the Kiggin’s Theatre monthly.  To the geekdom credit we are probably the loudest people in the audience but give them time it is a new location for the cast.  🙂

As time has gone on I want to look back on my life and expand my definition of Geek.

What else did I really get excited about all on my own?  Can I still be geek if it isn’t scifi, or movie oriented?  What are you excited about that isn’t quite geek in your opinion?

What is Geek Cred?

I don’t always feel like a geek. I know I have nothing to prove to anyone. This is more about proving it to myself through my own story.

A friend recently said that she didn’t feel she had enough geek cred. I didn’t understand this at all because she came from a family of geeks who go to conventions as a family, enter gaming tournaments , get excited about books signings and so on. In my mind that is the geek equivalent of coming from ‘old money’ in high society. But yet she still felt that it was just all handed to her and she hadn’t worked to garner any of it.

This made me think about my own geek cred score. Much like my Klout score, I haven’t checked it in years and feel it has diminished with lack of use. However, I feel I have something to prove, to myself. Another friend brought up the song “Nothing to Prove” by the Double Clicks. It is a wonderful explanation of geeks being anyone who likes things like science, scifi or gaming. There is a larger definition but I don’t really want to delve into that here. On the other hand, I have to expand the definition for my own devices because I didn’t come to love all these things until I graduated from college.

Basic history, I grew up in a VERY small town. At a young and tender age I became THE weird kid. In a class of 33 people you can see why the capital letters and a little important. I was alone in a place where I fit in the OTHER category. I could still count on one hand how many fit in that category with me. I also have to admit when I still was desperate to fit in I wasn’t always the open and loving person I try to be today. If you ever get to read this, I’m sorry.

Also, when I was about 11 or 12 I decided to stop watching cartoons like Sailor Moon and Beetle Juice the animated series before my school bus came. I remember it being a conscious decision. No one told me to do it or why it would be a good idea. I just said, “Today no more Beetle Juice.” Now, I don’t know if it was because I didn’t like the shows or if I decided this is what adults do but it happened.

Right then and there, I feel I lost all nerd/geek credibility. I gave up cartoons because it wasn’t cool basically. I became the person who vilifies people for watching cartoons.

So, how do I fix find my nerdy self? How did I make it from tween to adulthood losing all my geek cred? This is why I need a larger definition of geek.

This is where I hope to explore it.