Last Thursday (23 July 2010) is on my life calendar highlights.
I have always been a nerd in the depths of my heart. While I haven’t hidden it, only recently have I felt comfortable enough to highlight it. My comfort isn’t due to the current acceptance of nerds, but because I’ve stopped caring about the sidelong glances when I ask people which Star Trek series they like and then correct them when they start talking about how much they love the one with the Force.
Attending w00tstock 2.4 is one of the nerdiest things I’ve done, and I’m completely happy I made the time to go. The website has the best description: 3 hours of geeks and music. After attending, I’d describe it as an entire season of The Muppet Show with less puppets and more memes. My favorite part of being at the show was that my mom was sitting next to me laughing just as hard as I was.
The best way I could write about my experience was a journal/catalog/overview that hits the highlights. After the jump you’ll get taste of my experience (with pictures and video! *). If you decide to stop here, let me leave you with this: If w00tstock comes anywhere near you, do what you can to make it. I had so much fun, my mom had so much fun, and we laughed for all 4 1/2 hours of the show.
Wil Wheaton, Adam Savage, and Paul and Storm anchored the show (they originally came up with the idea). The last 30ish minutes was their performance of “The Pirate Wife’s Lament”. (I think we got one of the shorter versions of the song, but it was one of the funniest ways I’ve ever seen to end a show).
Molly Lewis played some fantastic songs (my favorite was “Open Letter to Stephen Fry” where she makes her case for being the best woman to carry his child). The venue was 21+ and she’s not there yet, so the recurring chant was “Free Molly”, since she could only come inside when she was preforming. This created a bonus intermission show outside – Mollystock! There were a lot of people, both from the audience and from the performers, and we sang along to the songs, laughed when we all stopped signing at the same spot, and cheered as Molly powered through a cover of “Bad Romance” without missing a beat so everyone could go back inside for the second half.
Matt Fraction did a presentation that had the best explanation for how we read, why we read, and why we should read that I’ve heard to date. (I really hope someone recorded it; I was too enthralled.)
Jamie Hyneman walked onstage, was very much like how he is on Mythbusters, and then walked off.
Marian Call preformed fantastic folk music that used a typewriter and a rainstick. Her commentary and chatter between songs was very funny. There was even a folk version of a punk song she wrote about zombie cheerleaders for a movie.
The Chief walked out onstage during Wil Wheaton’s reading of his first time watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show. (I realized how much the VCR allowed me to see when I was growing up. The first time I watched Rocky Horror I was at home with my family and maybe 12. We’d taped it from TV and then we bought the video and now we own it on DVD. And though I’ve never seen it in the theater, I know all the words in the movie and the ones I’m supposed to say.)
RiffTrax live riffed a short film from the best style of American movies – 1950’s educational films. Lunchtime manners have gained a new level of importance in my life.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_ScS2dFhM8] *This video and the other w00tstock videos posted on my youtube channel carry . Change it, share it, beat on it with a stick, just don’t sell it. Release your work under the same license and be sure to tell people where you got it.
Phil Plait gave a really funny astronomy lecture focusing on the shapes that distant galaxies take on. I learned that even fields that contain mostly wonder for me fall victim to my snickering 12 year old self under the right circumstances.
Chewbacca showed up, Jason Finn played the drums for everyone, Grant Imahara impersonated Jamie Hyneman, and there was an entire series of videos to fill the brief gaps between acts.
And there was the audience, which was so great. We all laughed together, sang together, shouted together. It was the first time I didn’t have to explain my whale shirt. I saw other shirts that I have and others I want to buy.
I think practically everyone in the show stuck around afterward to talk and sign stuff. I think most of the audience did as well. I didn’t because I had a 1 1/2 hour drive and work early the next morning. I only regret not staying a little bit. Practicality won out, but part of me still wishes a little that I’d stayed.
w00tstock was a time for nerds to hang out and play together. And I was happy to be there looking around and watching everyone. Sometime during the show I realized that I found my group. Often I am on the edge of whatever I’m part of, but, that night, I was amongst everyone.
This post has been more observational and simultaneously more personal than normal. All I can tell you is what I walked away with: Embracing each facet of myself has led to fantastic times and memories. I hope you find something to connect with and take with you.