So. Remember when I said this post was going to be up “soon”? Apparently I have caught my husband’s “I know I said 20 minutes six hours ago but I’m in the middle of a raid and I will be off soon dammit!” definition of “soon”.
For those of you not keeping track of this via twitter or through my offline whining, this is roughly the seven kwabillionth version of this post. I have started it over and over and over again because I keep thinking about things I want to add, things that I want to take out, the tone I want to hit and stuff that I really want to say but probably shouldn’t say because it would probably make me sound creepy and weird (as opposed to mostly lovable and weird which I much prefer).
As it turns out, waiting almost a month to post this is probably the best thing that could have happened to it, even for those of us who are patience impaired (Hi, my name is Erin and I’m a right-now-aholic). Why? Well a couple of reasons:
1. I had a lot of time to really think about what I want to say; both about the idea of W00tstock itself and the actual experience of going to the show. Many weeks of rumination have helped, I hope, elevate this from cheesy fan-geek-girl flipping out over the awesomeness of it all.
2. By now so many different videos of the show itself have hit the internets that I don’t really need to do a break downy review thingy of it. But for those of you keeping score at home: the whole show was awesome. Everybody was incredibly nice after the show when they were signing autographs into the wee hours after the show ran super long (but totally worth it). Also? There is nothing quite like the high that comes from making someone you totally admire laugh.
So on to the important stuff. Shall we? We shall? Okay.
I have to say that I was a little apprehensive about going to W00tstock. Yes I bought my tickets practically the minute they went on sale. Yes I was counting down until getting to go see it. I may have even, at one point, made fun of myself for having my own “Rex Manning Day.” At the same time, I was a little wary and unsure of what to expect.
Until W00tstock most of my experience dealing with different types of geeks en masse was had at the game store Will (husband Will, not The Wheaton. The name is PURE COINCIDENCE. I swear!) used to work at before we moved to Portland and listening to the gamers he played WoW with online. And those guys? Were giant douche knockers of fucktard proportions. Seriously. Intellectually I understand that not every geek is going to be like those guys. Obviously. I’d even go so far as to posit that those guys aren’t really gamers or geeks so much as they are giant asshats. Still, I was a little worried that I’d end up standing in line and sitting next to people who would get all competitive with me about who was a bigger fan or geek. I was a little worried that I’d be met with the same snort of derision that I’ve often dealt with in other areas.
I, um, kind of have a hard time fitting in…oh, everywhere.
See, I’m a little bit of many things and I’m too much of others but I’m not ever just enough of any one thing to ever be truly accepted by that thing’s “group.” On the one hand this has been awesome. I have an incredibly diverse group of friends that I love to death. At the same time, I have a group of friends so diverse that it pretty much guarantees that there is always at least someone rolling their eyes at me and saying “I just don’t get why you [care so much/don't care as much/value this/don't value that],” followed by a big gusty sigh. So when it came to W00tstock I was 80% excited and 20% “uh-oh, what am I getting myself into?”
I was afraid that I wouldn’t be smart enough to understand all of it.
I was afraid that I’d spend most of the evening (aka the All of It Except Wil Wheaton parts because his was the only name I knew and he’s the reason I bought the tickets) sitting on the outside of some inside joke.
I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to relate to a lot of things.
And then we got there.
For what is possibly the first time in my entire life, I was surrounded by people who GET IT. They understand blogging. They got my cultural references. They tweet. We joked about being “I play a bunch of 3 letter words on Words with Friends because I don’t care about strategy, I just want to make words” players. We lamented people who throw sheep at each other and ask for help growing their livestock on Facebook. We compared our various levels of geek for different things. I could use the word “Dooce” in a sentence with someone I had never met before and it wasn’t followed by “Whuh….? Is that an internet thing?” I told people that I write content for websites and didn’t have to explain that it is too a real job. Will talked with people who appreciated his “Gamer” shirt and compared gaming stories. I admitted to one person that I know jack crap about science and was told “but you blog! That’s so cool!”
There were fans and geeks of every stripe there and it was just fun. Nobody was trying to “out-geek” anybody else. Nobody was trying to explain how their form of geekiness was better than someone else’s because of x, y, z. Instead of “really? You don’t like that?” it was “Have you ever tried [this]? I didn’t like that either but then I [insert suggestion here] and was amazed that I liked it after all!”
For the first time since we’ve met, my husband and I had the exact same level of fun at something we chose to do together.
In a lot of ways, for me, W00tstock felt like finally finding a home base. I was in a space with a few hundred other people who just…understand. It didn’t matter what particular brand of geekiness you subscribe to or if, like me, you don’t really subscribe to any particular subset. We were there to have fun. We were there to learn about cool stuff and hear awesome songs and listen to awesome stories and be introduced to new cool people to follow on Twitter and online. We were there to get our respective geek on. We were there to take part in the kind of thing we had always wanted to take part in but hadn’t because we’d had a bunch of people telling us that it wasn’t cool/serious/arty/enough. It was amazing. That is why I tweeted this:
And imagine my reaction when I got home and discovered this:
In retrospect it’s probably good that I did not learn about this until I got home. Otherwise I would have fallen all over myself in the autograph line even more than I did. If you’ve been reading me or known me since, oh, 2004, you know what a huge blogger-fan-geek I am for Wil Wheaton. And? It has exactly nothing to do with Star Trek, Stand By Me or Toy Soldiers. But that? Is another story for another time. Because? I’ve already taken three weeks to write this much of my story. If I go into the rest of it, we’ll be here another three weeks. And none of us has that kind of time.
So, to sum things up, if you’ve been to one of the W00tstock shows already: how much fun was that?!?
If you haven’t been to a W00tstock but there is one coming to your area? Get tickets now. It is so totally worth it. Chicago and Minneapolis? I’m looking right at you!