About the Manual

The Nerd Manual is meant to be both a useful resource for nerds and a guide for the people involved with nerds. If you're a nerd you can find information here that will help you improve your life and perhaps better understand yourself. If you're close friends with, dating, or married to a nerd, I want to give you insight into things nerds do that a lot of people have difficulty understanding.

I hope to avoid offending anyone--either nerd or non-nerd--but please understand that the manual will get into some sensitive topics, stray into contentious territories, and even use stereotypes to illustrate points. It's OK to disagree with something, but keep your comments civil.


Why Do Nerds Like Star Wars?

R2-D2 doesn't just carry messages for Leia
Let's be clear, there are a lot of nerds who don't like Star Wars (and they probably enjoy Star Trek), which is fine, but never assume that all nerds are Star Wars fans.

Let's also be honest and accept that the appeal of Star Wars has transcended the nerd realm in the past 20 years or so, and is now a cultural phenomenon. 

Star Wars is one of a very few stories that successfully combines fantasy and magic with science fiction and technology, two realms with mass nerd appeal. You should know that there is more than a single Star Wars--it's actually a huge collection of films, television shows, comic books, novels, stories, and games. They call it the Star Wars Universe for good reason.


Nerd Specializations: Horror Nerd

Nick Kenrick - Horror Show

Horror is a tricky topic, that cuts across cultural facets from nerds to non-nerds, geeks to jocks, men to women, and east to west, but it's a $400 million dollar a year movie industry, and it's absolutely huge when you add in other media and the seasonal earnings of haunted attractions. A lot of people enjoy the occasional scare, but when when someone collects Wes Craven films on VHS, she earns herself the horror nerd label.

Like any other facet of society, nerds are divided over horror. Somewhere around half of all nerds take great pleasure in horror books, movies and games, but the half who don't enjoy it usually can't stand it, so ask before you queue up a hi-def stream of Dead Snow.


Nerd Q&A: Can a Programmer be Interesting?

Malcolm by Matthew Ragan
I'm so glad people are concerned about their friends' well being. It gives me hope.

I have a nerd friend who only knows programming. He spends every hour on coding. He's about to date a gorgeous babe who knows nothing about programming. How does he keep up a lively chat? He wants to get to know the woman better, but is concerned that she is only interested in his money because he has had previous bad experiences with gold-diggers.

This is a lot to unpack.

Let's start with your...ahem...friend. It's noble of you to care so much about your friend's social life, but I'm going to go ahead and write this in second person to make life easier.