Monday, March 21, 2011

The CS-FIG

I've recently developed an appreciation affinity addiction to The Big Bang Theory.

I know that a lot of people don't like it, but then again most people don't have any real life people who bear a striking resemblance, personality wise, to the characters. When I watch The Big Bang Theory I'm not just watching a show. I'm taken back to my college days and the time I spent with the Computer Science Freshman Interest Group, or the CS-FIG, as we were called.

Yeah. I wasn't actually a Computer Science major but they adopted me as their "honorary member." My name was on the roster and everything. Not just because I was a pretty girl that liked to hang out with and talk to them without needing their help, but because I am a fairly awesome person. That's not narcissistic. That's just true. I'm fun and funny and charming when I'm comfortable and not feeling awkward.

When I first went off to college I decided the best thing to do would be to get what I called "filler friends", or people who would fill up my time during the week to keep me entertained until I could see my real friends, the ones I'd grown up with, on weekends. I decided after some thought that my filler friends should be nothing like my real friends. I wasn't looking for replacements.

I really tried to find people who fit the "filler" requirements. Average people who hadn't graduated in the top fifteen percent of their classes who majored in Psychology (the most common major on campus because it's an easy ride) were my main target. But I hated them. The girls were shallow, stupid, and catty. They only liked to talk about other girls and couples and trying to explain to them why they found me in my room curled up with Tolstoy was pointless.

I tried hanging out with guys who were "filler" material. That was even worse than the girls. The guys were either entirely too interested in getting in my pants to make me comfortable enough to hang out, or they were only nice until they thought they had a shot, at which point I would turn them down and move on. I was absolutely not interested in picking up a new boyfriend.

I even tried a few frat parties during Rush with my roommate, who I actually got along with, to see if that would be a tolerable way to pass my time. Since I didn't drink all I could do was watch other people act like morons while getting drunk while trying to keep drunk frat boys and not yet frat boys from hitting on me or touching me.

Needless to say, finding "filler friends" failed and I had resigned myself to only hanging out with Cookie, the one friend who actually made the transfer from high school to college with  me, and when he was busy I decided I would just go to the library and make use of my time or hang out with my roommate.

I actually met the CS-FIG through Cookie, who lived in the same building as them, just three floors under. Cookie himself was a Computer Science Major, and he received an invitation to blow up a bottle of Big Red one night while we were hanging out. When he explained that he was hanging out with a friend, Neutron told him to "go ahead and bring him along."

Maybe Cookie should have warned them that "him" was actually a "her" because when I walked into the CS-FIG lounge with him and he introduced me there was a stunned silence. And then everybody came over and we all introduced ourself and I shook lots of hands and answered a lot of questions before we all finally went down to the park on campus and put shock tarts in a 2 liter of big red and watched it explode with a big BANG!

I found myself with a set of real friends instead of "filler friends" who happily called me every night to remind me of whatever was planned for the evening, or on the few nights that I didn't go to them, they came to me and either hung out in my room with me (my roommate never hung those nights: she said they made her feel stupid) or took me away to wherever they had planned to go anyway.

My favorite two members of the CS-FIG (aside from Cookie, obviously) were Adamantium and Neutron. If they were in the Big Bang Theory and were physicists, Adamantium would be Sheldon (albeit, a much more friendly, less condescending version of Sheldon) and Neutron would have been Leonard.

Adamantium and Neutron took it upon themselves to teach me some things about computers. My typing abilities easily outstripped their own: they weighed in at a paltry 85 and 90 WPM respectively, but that was pretty much my limit with computers aside from knowing how to use Power Point, Word, and Excel.  Everything I know about HTML coding I learned from the two of them, and two prouder teachers there never were as when they gave me the chance to show the other guys what I had learned. They also taught me how to design a webpage, though why they thought I would ever need to know that, I have no idea.

There was one painful two week period in which they decided to try to teach me how to code with Java. To their utter disappointment (Adamantium's more than Neutron's) I failed completely. I couldn't grasp the concept, and I wasn't interested in it enough to push past the difficulties involved. They finally had to admit defeat when they left me a note on the white board on my dorm while I was out one day in what they thought was fairly basic Java.

When I called Neutron he answered, "Hey! You understood it! You're getting better!"

And I said, "No, that's why I'm calling you! What the hell did you write on my board? I only understood my name!"

Apparently it had been instructions to call one of them. That was probably not a good idea. I felt bad for disappointing them. Adamantium was extremely disappointed and decided my lessons in Java should be postponed indefinitely. I heartily seconded the motion, and Neutron had to give in since I was no longer a will pupil.

After a while I developed a crush on Neutron, who was easiest to talk to and also my most frequent companion. Unfortunately, he was so into his computers and talking about the great game he was programming that he didn't really have an interest in women. That or he just didn't realize it and kept his own attraction hidden because he didn't know I liked him. You know what? I like the second option better.

We all went to Ren Fest together. We went to gaming tournaments together. (I occasionally dressed up with them, but I never played. I prefer watching other's play video games to joining in myself.) We went to movies together, had Star Wars Marathons. They did try to talk me into going to a Star Trek Marathon but I put my foot down on that one because I am not a Trekkie and I can't stand being around people when they're speaking Klingon. Yeah. They all spoke Klingon. (I'm not even sure if Klingon is a real thought out language or if they just learned different phrases from watching the show) And two of them spoke Elvish. As in the language that  Tolkien invented when he was writing Lord of the Rings. I didn't even realize it was a real language and not just a bunch of gibberish he wrote for the sake of his novels until I met the guys. I was interested enough to ask about that one and they even taught me a greeting.

I even got to impress them all once when I quoted the poem from the book. "Three Rings for the  Elven Kings under the sky, seven for the dwarf lords in their halls of stone, nine for mortal men doomed to die, one for the Dark Lord on his dark throne in the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie. One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in  the darkness bind them in the land of Mordor where teh Shadows lie."

So...alright, it was pretty nerdy that I actually knew the poem. But I had read LOTR and I remembered that poem specifically because it had been chopped down for the movie and I thought it was so much more powerful with all of the words. Hollywood changes whatever it wants to with no actual consideration for the literary integrity of the work they are representing. So sad.

Anyway, I even played D&D with them, though I had played D&D in high school. That really amused them.

"No offense, but you don't look like the kind of girl who knows how to play D&D."

"Pshaw. Haven't you heard of me? I roll twenties."

Some of my fondest memories in my life happened in the company of those awesome, sweet tempered, lovable, respectful gentlemen. And they only reaffirmed my belief that as far as friends and boyfriends go, Nerds are the best to have.

23 comments:

  1. Fun times! I freaking LOVE "The Big Bang Theory". I want to adopt some of those nerds and make them MY neighbors.

    It's pretty awesome that you were able to learn some coding from them, I often wish I knew more about the secret world of computers. However, I'm not entirely sure I have the mind-set for that sort of thing. I am a good typist, though. That's one thing I can claim. :)

    PS: Would you think less of me if I told you that I'm a Psychology major? I'm more on the neurological science side of it though, so maybe the way I do it doesn't really count, right? I'm actually planning on going all the way through a doctorate! It's a little insane, but I'm sure I'll be glad I did it once it's all finished.

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  2. Nice post.

    Except for not mentioning that The Big Bang Theory sucks.

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  3. You know what Homer Simpson would yell at you if he ever saw you on a college campus. It's too obvious to state here.

    I love all your nicknames. I'm curious, did your nerd friends all call themselves these things, or do you make them up for the purpose of the blog?

    I also find that those who get the most out of the Big Bang Theory are rather nerdy themselves, thus they feel like they're in on the jokes.
    It Just Got Interesting

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  4. Candice, oh yay! A fellow BBT fan! I love it so much. I found myself singing "Soft Kitty" at work today...Yes. I'm a nerd.

    Insane typing skills are for people who aren't computer geniuses. I'm sure if I had an interest in how computers work and using them for more than my basic needs, I wouldn't be so efficient. It's okay, though. I promise Java Script is over rated. And it doesn't look nearly as pretty when it's written out. Just more complicated. Which it is.

    I don't think less of you. What I said was mean and I'm sorry. I realize that there were a small handful of individuals at TSU that had a genuine interest in Psychology as a science because it interested them, and not because it was an easy ride. And the CS-FIG occasionally gave me a hard time for my major, too. I majored in Mass Communication and Journalism when I'd first applied for Biology. My whole application essay was about how I had always dreamed of becoming a Genetic engineer...Mass Comm is also kind of a fluff major. According to them. So no offense. Sorry if I was mean. It wasn't intentional.

    Doug, you only say that because you didn't know anybody like them in the real world! Plus the jokes are pretty funny. Like when they were making fun of Zack to his face and they implied dolphins were smarter than him and he kind of figured it out so they laughed and apologized...that was great. The Big Bang Theory is funny.

    Brent, noooooo I don't. Didn't watch much of the Simpsons, remember? Would he call me a geek or a dweeb?

    No, I called them by their real names. Okay, we all called Cookie Cookie in real life...but it was something from way back in middle school. His mom made the best cookies and when he brought them to lunch to share it was awesome. Hence calling him Cookie. I call Adamantium that name in this blog because one day he was arguing with Neutron about how Adamantium was the hardest metal in the world and was indestructible, so it could be used to kill Superman. (You do, of course, understand that Adamantium was the metal fused to Wolverine's skelaton in X-Men.) It's one of my fondest memories of it, and similar to his name, so I thought it was appropriate. I call Neutron "Neutron" because he was neutral to my crush on me. I thought that seemed fitting, too.

    Padawan and I are always laughing at Big Bang Theory. In one episode Padawan totally though he had me beat when Stan Lee was featured and he was all, "Who is Stan Lee, Chanel?" and I went, "He wrote Fantastic 4." And he was like, "Did he write Batman or Spiderman?" and I was all, "Spiderman." And he went, "Which comics?" and I said, "Marvel." I totally got my nerd on.

    PS to everyone: Will Wheaton is a jerk! And I never liked Star Trek much anyway!

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  5. Nope. Pretty sure I said that because the show sucks :)

    And I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure Klingon is as thought-out a language as that Tolkien elf thing.

    If you see Neutron, tell him he was wrong. There is no way adamantium can kill Superman. Not unless it is wielded by a clone-Superman. That's like saying diamond can kill Superman because it's the hardest rock or stone or whatever it is. Just being the hardest something doesn't give something powers beyond its capabilities.

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  6. Im the hardest and strongest Doug Stephens in my house, but I'm pretty sure I can't kill Superman. And why would I want to? He's a pretty decent guy.

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  7. I don't speak Klingons. I actually didn't care much for the Klingons.

    Also, I majored in psychology in my brief stint in college. I didn't learn much though. Most everything I know I've learned on my own through books. I forgot what this had to do with anything.

    I keep hearing about The Big Bang Theory. I told you before about that girl from work. She might have ruined it for me ahead of time.

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  8. Geeks rock. That's all there is to say about that. They rock.

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  9. Are you saying Will Wheaton is a jerk to agree with Sheldon or a general dislike for Star Trek in general? I am a huge BBT fan. I knew some of these guys in the navy, they were very smart theoretically, just not real world smart.
    By the way, Homer would call you a "Nerd". I can't believe you're not a Simpsons fan, the best writing on television the last 20 years week in and week out.

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  10. I love that Will Wheaton plays a jerk on the show and on the Guild too.

    I love the Big Bang Theory. When my wife is sick she always asks me to sing "Soft Kitty" to her. I still haven't tried to learn HTML, though I should. I can look at the code and figure out things that need to be changed a little to get what I want, but I don't know what everything means. I learned Pascal in high school, it is utterly worthless now. I also started out as a Biochemist major and switched to English, so don't let anyone give you a hard time. We are still awesome, slightly narcissicstic, but awesome none the less.

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  11. Will Wheaton also played a gaming nerd on the internet series The Guild. He was a jerk on that show, too.
    I am aware of the adamantium infused skeleton of Wolverine. In the words of Homer Simpson, "Neeeeeeeeeerd!"

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  12. Chanel: I can honestly say that you didn't offend me. I know that there are different types of people within the same field of study. A lot of majors could be considered "easy rides" if a person takes all the easy classes and puts in the minimal amount of effort.

    I was a journalism major for a while, too! But in the end I decided that Psych was more interesting and appealing to me. Go figure. :)

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  13. I've never watched the Big Bang Theory. Anytime my mom suggests a show is "funny" it usually means it's "stupid". Recently, a friend of mine told me if I like How I Met Your Mother I would like BBT. It's been in my Netflix queue for a few months and I still have yet to make it to it. Eventually, I will give it a whirl.

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  14. Doug, I'm pretty sure Neutron said that it was possible if there was Krypton present. A weakened Superman could be killed by Wolverine. That was his though. So I won't tell him he's wrong.

    It does not suck. Try watching a couple of episodes instead of just one and see how it goes. The characters are lovable!

    Bryan, I know Klingons are the bad guys. Like the Scylons in Battle Star Galaxy. Why would you want to speak the bad guy language?

    I insulted psychology majors at TSU. That's why you said it. But I wasn't being mean intentionally.

    Ignore the girl from work and just watch it! You'll be thoroughly entertained.

    Darev, yes they do! Nerds, Geeks, Dork, and Dweebs unite! We are all awesome!

    George, I'm saying Will Wheaton is a jerk in BBT, but I dislike Star Trek which makes me more inclined to dislike him. I liked the ONE Star Trek movie (the new one) because I adore Spock. He's so...*sigh* There is no word. It's not just because Sheldon dislikes him. Although I, too, have a Memaw and what he did in the card tournament was LOW.

    I discussed the Simpsons with...Brent, I believe. I do not like Homer. He irritates me. I have a really good reason to dislike him, too. He couldn't even buy his daughter a reed. What a jerk. The writing may or may not be good. I'll take your word for it.

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  15. Charlie, Padawan watches the Guild. I didn't know Will Wheaton guest starred on that. Still won't watch it, though. I tried once and I couldn't get into it. Different kind of nerd.

    Aw, your wife rocks! I tried to have Padawan sing it to me when I was sick last week but he didn't memorize it like I did and I wasn't feeling well enough to teach him.

    You should learn HTML. It's universally useful. Blogger uses it. Oh, I held my own against them when they teased me about my major switch. I explained I wanted to make a mark on the world bigger than website designs and video games. And yes. We are.

    Brent, Will Wheaton probably really is a jerk, which is why he only plays jerks when he's himself. Because he is. Jerk.

    You knew about adamantium. That makes you a "neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerd", too. And Homer Simpson doesn't even know the difference between a Nerd, Geek, and Dork. How sad is that?

    Candice, you're right. You know, I asked my sister why she didn't bother trying to get A's in all of her classes and she said, "Why should I beat my brains out trying that hard? First, it's impossible for me, and second, a person who graduates with all C's gets the same degree as someone who gets all A's."

    I had to admit that she had a really good point. Nobody looks into your grades. All they see is the shiny diploma.

    Journalism rocks, even though it's a dying field. (It totally is.)

    Asha, if that's true then I should probably try How I Met Your Mother. Thanks for that! And you should definitely move it up in your queue. Totally worth it. Doug is the only person I know who hates it. And he's a stick man, so you can't trust him.

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  16. I can't hang out with the "filler" crowd. It's because their conversation is just that--"filler." There are no "real" conversations. It's all, "I like your bracelet."
    "Thanks, I got it at Brand Name Boutique."
    "OMG, I love Brand Name Boutique."
    "Me too! We should go!"
    "Totally!"

    SERIOUSLY? There are so many things going on this world and you are talking about a freaking bracelet?!?!

    I'm a huge geek girl. Huge into comics. Read Sin City cover-to-cover, but X-Men's my poison. If I could become Jean Grey in another life, it'd be better than winning the trillion-dollar lottery. I still mourn the day they ever cancelled Firefly. I've played every Zelda game on the market today. Chanel, I worked at a REN FAIRE. Like the kind you went to. I can tell you the difference between a bodice and a corset. I can name the four humors.

    And as much as that ostracizes me, makes me (largely) unable to talk to girls my age, makes me unable to communicate normally without being insanely awkward or ungainly...I wouldn't have it any other way.

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  17. Chanel, my roommate and I sat down together once upon an evening to watch How I Met Your Mother as per our typical Monday routine. Following the show was the pilot for Big Bang. I have been watching it ever since, the theme song was memorized after 3 episodes, all seasons available on DVD are on my shelf and they are my sister's and my fallback for when nothing else is on. I fully support your love for the show no matter what your reason is. (Although, like you, I have a soft spot for BBT because of similar memories of time spent with ridiculously smart people).

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  18. Nicki, if I were a man I would totally have just fallen madly in love with you. If Padawan read this he would probably leave me for you.

    You are awesome. SO awesome. And then the cherry on the sundae...You worked at a Ren Faire. That is SO FREAKING COOL. I realize most people would have the exact opposite reaction to that. But I think it's the most awesome job anyone has ever told me they had. Better than video game tester and ice cream tester for sure. I want to work at Ren Fest.

    And talking to most girls is really overrated anyway. I think you're totally cool and I wouldn't want you to be any other way, either.

    Jenna, I sing the song, too. It's so catchy! And fun. Especially when you get to go BANG! I have certain episodes that I like to watch again and again. Though there is one Episode I haven't seen. Episode two of season three. I've seen the beginning...the awkwardness between Penny and Leonard after they first hook up...but how did they fix it???? The next episode they were together and I have no idea how!

    You will, of course, have to share your memories of time spent with the smart ones.

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  19. I worked there for five years...and they were some of the best years of my life. I keep meaning to blog about them...but it's kind of like...where do you even start? Anyway, thank you for your kind words...it always feels good to let your geek flag fly. And I've added BBT to my Netflix queue! My friends have been bugging me to watch it for years, but this blog post tipped me over the edge.

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  20. I like How I Met Your Mother. The two shows are not similiar. And I watched parts of THREE episodes. Major suckage.

    And if you cannot trust a stickman, who can you trust?

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  21. Nicki, you're welcome. I look forward to reading about your Ren Fair days, if you ever do find a place to start. (They lie when they say it's best to always start at the beginning.) I hope you love BBT!

    Doug, you have to watch the WHOLE episode, from the beginning, and not just parts of them. Also, it's best to start with the first episode.

    You can trust and X-Man. :P

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  22. Now I think I have a major case of the hots for one of your readers. Rrrrroowwwrrrr! Pant pant pant.... woof! Humors.... wow.

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  23. Easy there. I saw her first.

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