Nerd Fest 2005

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a nerd. I mean, if I wore glasses, they would probably have masking tape on them to hold the frame together. And although I don't use it (daily), I actually own a pocket protector--though it bears mentioning it was given to me as a gag gift. Not to mention I think 65536 is a nice even, round number.

But nerdiness, like attractiveness or wealth, is all relative. A few days ago my work sent me to the launch event for a new software development tool, an event I will hereafter refer to as Nerd Fest 2005. Anything away from the office is a welcome diversion even if it's work-related. Here at Nerd Fest I was surrounded by a crowd of thousands of whiny voices, neck-beards, and braided belts, all of which had the cumulative effect of making me feel very good about myself.

This event was another reminder of how my industry is predominantly male. I bet there are more girls at a Star Trek convention than what I saw at Nerd Fest. Nothing has really changed since I was in engineering school and the guidance consulars were practically begging women to enter the major by offering them full scholarships, the phone numbers of every male engineering major, and complimentary pocket protectors. Sometimes I thought a few fell for the ruse on the first day of classes, but the women always got up and hurriedly left when the professor wrote something like "Calculus for Engineers and Other Virgins" on the whiteboard.

I had to stay the whole day because the organizers of Nerd Fest were handing out software that I needed for work at the end of the event. This was very clever of them, because otherwise I would have checked in in the morning, grabbed my free stuff, and left 10 minutes later. Of course, I would have told my boss I was listening to speeches and presentations all day instead of where I really would have been: down at the bar drinking while constantly reminding myself that my company is paying me to do so.