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.

2019-10-15

The Great Literary Guide Has Left Us

Harold Bloom, the literary critic whose melancholic visage graces a vast collection of literary guides in libraries around the world, died on Monday at the age of 89. He was still teaching his class at Yale University up until a few days earlier.

Certainly Bloom carried his share of notoriety for defending the great white literary canon--Plato, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Emerson etc--and his reference to the multicultural literary movement as “the School of Resentment”, but he was one of the most passionate literary critics of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and definitely the most well known. His name and face (forehead perpetually propped in one hand) adorn 600 or so guides to literature--collections of critical articles from a vast array of critics, across multiple centuries, covering everything from understanding individual characters, to teaching and writing about a huge swath of literature. He authored 40 well-received books of his own, including two this year and another due out soon.

There are those who dismiss Bloom's canon as too Western, and highly subject to his personal whims, and perhaps he would agree. Bloom believed that aesthetics were paramount in literature, proposing that, “the canonical quality comes out of strangeness, comes out of the idiosyncratic, comes out of originality."

However, he lamented the fate of the university English departments, fearing that they "will be renamed departments of ‘Cultural Studies, where Batman comics, Mormon theme parks, television, movies and rock will replace Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth and Wallace Stevens."

I hope he left us his map.

2019-09-23

Hijack a Satellite

Image from Lockheed Martin
If you're interested in computer security, the US Air Force is offering people the chance to test the robustness of their satellite network with their challenge to hijack a satellite during a live event at Defcon 2020. Read more at Wired, and consider taking the Air Force up on the opportunity test your mettle against military equipment.

2019-03-07

Nerd Q&A: Straight Talk

Here's a question that I personally answered a while ago, but after thinking about it, I figured there may be other people out there who want some straight talk.

Do you have any personal advice (not a gimmick or step-by-step program) for someone who is socially anxious?

Yes, actually. You know, I like step-by-step instructions, but they can be a little disconnected, and sometimes you just want to know what other people think, how they feel, and how they get through life.

So I’m going to share a few things that I’ve figured out over the years.