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« Popular Culture has Passed Me By | Main | Davenport and Sontag »

January 07, 2005


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* I enjoyed taking this how-much-of-a-nerd-are-you? test, and would love to know how you guys score. (I'd really love to know how the squad at GNXP scores. Off the scale, I bet.) Fair warning: it won't be hard to beat my score: 1, out of a possible 100. Yes, yes, it really was very silly of me to have imagined as a boy that I'd grow up to be a scientist ...

* Ladies: would you accept a date from The Gregster? (Link thanks to Martine.)

* As far as I'm concerned, attractive young celebs owe it to the rest of us to visit St. Barth's, strip down on the beach, and get themselves photographed by paparazzi. It may not be a great idea to check yourself for sandiness while out in public, though.

* Whoops, for a minute there I forgot that this is a respectable blog. OK then: here's a good Jonathan Yardley piece about the brilliant crime writer Charles Willeford, about whom I've wanted to post for ages. Willeford is best-known for a series of novels featuring a cop named Hoke Moseley (start with "Miami Blues"), and he's one of a kind: cussed, funny, companionable, demented. Talk about color, atmosphere, psychology and sociology! Willeford's vision of America as an exhilarating/appalling carnival of excess and despair is one I find impossible to resist. Good plots, vivid characters, and juicy writing too. If Charles Bukowski had ever been able to pull a real story together, it might have come out like a Willeford. One of Willeford's best novels -- "The Burnt Orange Heresy" -- is also one of the best yarns I've ever read about the artworld. Jonathan Yardley knew Willeford and worked with him, so that makes his piece a special treat. (Link thanks to ALD.)

Respectable enough?



posted by Michael at January 7, 2005


So, I know, y'all are just dying to know mine - how bout 52?

But no, not because I [not]have biohazard signs in my room.
I'd attribute it to my adolescent love.
It's a weird connection: I had a terrible crush at 15 on a dead poet, Alexander Block=>at the same time was an amateur baletoman=>Block's wife Lyubov Mendeleeva-Block was a renown ballet critic and wrote a brick-tome on history of arabesque=>she was a daughter of Dmitry Mendeleev, periodic table inventor=> now you see I HAD TO know the elements by heart.

See, it's simple.

Posted by: Tatyana on January 7, 2005 5:37 PM

54% -- evidently in a group of 1% of the test-takers. How could someone score only 1%?

Posted by: susan on January 7, 2005 6:27 PM


I'm scared. I thought I was normal.

Posted by: Kris on January 7, 2005 8:02 PM


Low Ranking Nerd. Definitely a nerd but low on the totem pole of nerds.

Posted by: ijsbrand on January 8, 2005 12:21 PM

I took the test but this was the result I got back:

"Warning: mysql_query(): Unable to save result set in /home/content/w/x/p/wxplotter/html/ft_nq.php on line 73
Invalid query: MySQL client run out of memory"

Does it say anything about my nerdiness that I have no idea what this message means?

I'll try again and see if I can get a real score.

I think, though, relative to your other recent post on culture passing you by, that I'd be better off with a test to see how much of a fogey I am. Even on the nerd test, there were questions that I couldn't answer because I simply couldn't recall. Did I ever do homework on a Friday?? By God, how could I ever remember that. Thank God I can at least still see my own toes.

Posted by: fenster on January 8, 2005 12:26 PM

Tatyana -- Those engineering genes of yours are standing you in good stead!

Susan -- You're a 54? You could have fooled me. I don't know how I got a 1 myself, it wasn't as though I was trying to lowball the test. But, what is a "periodic table," anyway?

Kris - I bet you're seeing someone different when you look in the mirror now.

IJSbrand -- Once you're into the 60s I think there's some serious nerdiness going on, don't you? I say this with some envy, by the way.

Fenster - It sounds like you scored lower than a 1 and busted the software program entirely. I love your idea of creating a "how much of a codger are you" test. Hmm. "Can you remember your own birthday?" "Do you make groaning sounds when you sit down or stand up?" "When you return to the office from vacation, how many people's names can you recall on first seeing them again?" "Have you started preferring evenings at home with the spouse and a Netflix to all other forms of entertainment?" Others?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on January 8, 2005 12:32 PM

I got the same result as Fenster.

"The Gregster" needs to learn something. He needs to threaten to steal her identity or something if she doesn't call back. He does not need to threaten to NOT go out with her if she doesn't call back. See...that ole punishment and, um, reward thing.

Posted by: annette on January 8, 2005 12:44 PM

To my astonishment, I scored 72. As they told me, "Wow, it takes a lot of hard nerdy practice to reach this level."


Posted by: Francis Morrone on January 8, 2005 2:58 PM

Do let me add that I have never EVER played Dungeons & Dragons and am not even sure what it is. I have also NEVER played a computer or video game.

I have never watched Star Trek, seen Star Wars, or read or seen The Lord of the Rings.

I just want to enter that into the public record.

Posted by: Francis Morrone on January 8, 2005 3:02 PM

I took the test but got the computer bafflegab message. I assume it's a legitimate error message of some kind, but like Mr. Moop I did wonder if it was some further part of the test (like, "If you understand this, you are the Mayor of Nerdsville!").

Judging by the questions, though, I wonder if Nerdness could be further divided by generations or decades (and possibly relating to the other discussion about old-fogeyism and not knowing who current celebrities referred to by their first names are). I was in college in the early '70s, and I was certainly a nerd by the standards then in place (though "nerd" wasn't the word then)... but the computer revolution like so passed me by and I don't know nothin' about this stuf'.


Posted by: Dwight Decker on January 8, 2005 4:43 PM

They need to restart Apache on their server, the mysql client module has run out of ram. They also need to up the memory available to it, so that this doesn't happen in the future.

I'm pretty sure that knowing that puts me near the top on nerd quotient for this group of posters!

Posted by: David Mercer on January 8, 2005 8:01 PM

72. mostly because of the computer & science related stuff i guess. i have a girlfriend who i go out with a lot & have never played D&D.

Posted by: razib on January 8, 2005 10:39 PM

Can anyone explain what distinguishes a nerd from a geek from a dork?

Posted by: James M on January 9, 2005 4:27 PM

I don't know if there's an Official Definition somewhere, but doing a little introspection as to how I've generally heard the words used, I'd venture the following:

NERD: Intellectually inclined to the point of disdaining common pleasures like sports and being socially inept. Highly intelligent but in a bookish way; probably lacking what is called common sense.

GEEK: Same as above, but with strong science and technology emphasis, particularly computers. (A long way away from the word's origin as a name for a particularly nasty act in down-market carnivals...)

DORK: Socially inept and clumsy, but not necessarily intellectual.


Posted by: Dwight Decker on January 9, 2005 6:16 PM



"Nerd King. Apply for a professorship at MIT now!!!."

Well, I have to graduate first...

Posted by: Urijah on January 9, 2005 7:35 PM

Interesting way to get to know each other, no? I can't help noticing the the nerd test seems to have generated a lot more interest than the photos of Anna K. in a bikini. What does that mean?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on January 10, 2005 12:35 AM

It means the photos seem to have been taken down. Don't worry, we all looked for those first.

Wait, do you really not know what a periodic table is?

Posted by: JW on January 11, 2005 11:16 AM

Dwight--forgive me but in your definitions from above, you listed "disdaining common pleasures such as sports and being socially inept." Is "being socially inept" a "common pleasure"? Gosh, a lot of guys I work with make more sense to me now!! :)

Posted by: annette on January 11, 2005 1:34 PM

Annette: Too many years of learning the foreign language and it is English how to write I am forgetting. I didn't mean to imply being socially inept is a common pleasure. Actually, it's an uncommon pleasure for those few who are of a sufficiently refined sensibility to enjoy annoying the mundane herd of humanity...oh, never mind. What I wrote was definitely ambiguous (or ambiguously definite or something).

Posted by: Dwight Decker on January 11, 2005 8:28 PM

33. I'm a nerd wannabe. Why do I find this disappointing?

(off now to look up Mn - if it isn't Manganese I'm going to be completely ashamed.)

Posted by: Dente on January 12, 2005 11:43 AM

95%, but then I make Web sites for a living.

Posted by: Rob Asumendi on January 13, 2005 11:45 PM

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