MeToo

Chris Hardwick is the co-founder of the Nerdist company, which over the years has grown from a podcast to one of the foundational sites for nerd culture. It would not be too far off to claim, that Hardwick along with people like Felicia Day, Whil Wheton, and many others founded the new wave of nerdism that populates our current pop culture mindset. That is why it is so disturbing to read the article written by Chloe Dykstra on Medium, that details his emotional and sexual abuse of her throughout their three year relationship. She does not mention Chris Hardwick by name, but the time periods match up and it has been confirmed by other sources who knew Hardwick away from the cameras. We need to remember that as nerds, we are not immune to the lessons of the MeToo movement.

Its a Hardwick Life for Nerd Girls
Chris Hardwick’s actions are indefensible, but in the name of journalistic integrity we must mention that he does deny the allegations. However, that has not stopped Nerdist from scrubbing all mention of him from their sites. Because of this truth coming out his star is already falling and the nerd community will move on without him, doing the same awesome, fun, and childishly entertaining things we have always done. Yet, there is also a deeper lesson to be talked about here. We cannot escape the fact that nerd culture -especially convention culture and video game culture– is pervasively anti-woman. Now do not get us wrong. The past few years have seen nerd culture come a long way, with many positive depictions of women, and even more so than with mainstream culture. As an entertainment industry we have always had our fair share of Ridleys, Dana Scullies, and Wonder Women, but as an inclusive and accepting movement, we still have a ways to go.

Nerd culture has a shameful history of machismo -or whatever is the geekier version of it- which has existed since its inception. Women are valued as characters, but undervalued as members of the culture. Nerd girls are seen as something less, or as imposters or invaders. Part of this -undoubtedly- comes from the insecurity of many geek men, but the larger and meaner part stems from a pervasive feeling of superiority and exclusion. There is a very tangible belief that something cannot be special unless people are excluded from it, and women are the easiest targets. After all, we are taught by society that women are supposed to be pretty and interested in hair and nails, while nerds are supposed to be ugly and weird. That is a hurtful stereotype, but also one we internalize.

That means nerd culture embraces the weirdness but treats women as outsiders, or just cosplayers looking for attention. This has led to GamerGate, harassment, intimidation, and threats made against women in the nerd community. When women are allowed into the club they are often reduced to their scantily clad body bits, and treated as objects for the men in the room. This is the part of the culture that Hardwick embodied, a place where offers of inclusion are merely meant as lip service made in front of a camera or microphone. Behind closed doors he was a controlling boyfriend who treated his girlfriend as nothing but a possession, an action figure he could bend and break at will. After all, Dykstra was a professional cosplayer, so to many in our culture she really was nothing more than eye candy with a cape.

R2-MeToo
We can do better as a community and as individuals. Now is the time where Hollywood, Washington, and all the rest are really beginning to wake up to the pervasiveness of sexual misconduct among the powerful, but we cannot forget about the misconduct of the not-so-powerful too. Nerd culture has been ruled by men since its inception and it is rife with the sort of problems that the MeToo movement is bringing to light. Chris Hardwick may just be the tip of a larger iceberg, and we have to remember to support those that come forward, no matter who it is on the other side of the accusation.

Last Year, Joss Whedon, was accused by his ex-wife of emotional abuse and cheating. It was a news story for about a week and then it blew away. This truth of Whedon seems to run counter to everything he has publicly preached for years, and yet not many people pounced on the story. Maybe 2017 was a different time. Maybe the MeToo movement had not yet fully taken hold. Maybe Whedon’s actions didn’t cross the imaginary line of outrage. Maybe we had other things to worry about at the moment, but for whatever the reason, there were no real professional repercussions for Joss. At least the same cannot be said for Hardwick. At least someone is being held responsible, but we need more of that. We need to show the women of our community and the mainstream culture at large that we are serious about inclusion and treating every member, regardless of gender/race/sexuality with the same value and respect that we show the fictional people of our culture. We should not treat Spock and Chewbacca, better than we treat Tina who works at the Ubisoft booth.

Closing Disclosure
Full disclosure: the person writing this article is a white cis male, as is the majority of the people here at The NYRD, so maybe we cannot exactly talk to this issue with the nuance and investment that many women can. We apologize if we have over simplified any of the issues, but we also feel that it is our duty to point this out. Nerd men need to hold other men just as accountable as the nerd women do. Despite all he has done -and also because of it- Chris Hardwick is not above any woman or man or Hobbit. MeToo should be an issue for all people who claim to love a culture that includes heroes like Captain America, Superman, and Optimus Prime. Our fictional heroes would advocate respect and accountability, so how can we do anything less?

football

Well, it is that time of the year again. The big football sports game is coming up, and we’re all going to spend the day eating fried-things, placing small and unnecessary bets, and rooting against the team we hate least. Yes, that’s right. With the New England Red, White, and Bluers versus the Philadelphia Bird Men, there are a lot of people not necessarily caring about which team wins, so long as it is the team they hate less than the other team. So, its like voting for President, except with less trash-talk.

Now admittedly, we here at the NYRD are nerds, through and through. That does not mean that we don’t understand football, or hockey, or baseball, or badminton, just that we don’t really care. Yet, maybe that uninterested outsiders perspective is just what “real” sports fans need. So, -for once- we are ready to talk football, and not simply just about the commercials.

Sports Rivalries are Dumb
We are from New York, which means we are the home of the New York Average-Sized-Large-Men, and the New York Fast Moving Airplanes. Yes, we are lucky enough to have two football teams along with two or three hockey teams, two baseball teams, one or two basketball teams, -Depending what you consider the Nets to be- a soccer team, and even a lacrosse team. All those teams have rivalries: the NY Bankees hate the Boston Red Stockings, the NY Walker Texas Rangers hate the NJ Satan-Men, etc. So our question is, why? Why is it just as fun to hate other teams as it is to love your own.

According to Art Markman, the Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas, three things are necessary for a rivalry: Similarity, Frequency, and Parity. Take for example the NY Average-Sized-Large Men (ASLM) and their rivalry with the Philadelphia Bird Men. They are similar, because Philly and New York are major cities in the East and belong to the same football conference. That also means they play each other frequently, and they are on somewhat of an equal footing with one another. At least, in the general sense, there is enough equality of skill to keep games interesting. Yet, this year the ASLM did not make it to the Big Game, while the Bird Men did. So naturally the fans of the ASLM are rooting against the Bird Men to win… but to us that seems a bit dumb.

After all, Philly and NYC are less than 100 miles away form each other, two-hours by car. They have similar values, people, and they even both have a strange hold over New Jersey. If anything Philly and NYC are more alike than Boston and their team, the Red, White, and Bluers. It is even extremely likely that fans of the ASLM are friend with fans of the Bird Men. So why won’t they root for one another? After all, don’t you want your friends to be happy? Don’t you care about their need for whatever-sort-of-spiritual fulfillment socially-adjusted-people get from their sports team winning? Alas, sports rivalries don’t work like that. If anything similarity and friendship only seem to drive them more.

Go Team Sports Jersey!
Another odd predilection of sports fans is that so often it feels as if they are just rooting for a piece of cloth over the actual players. If Huge McSportsmaster is on our team, he is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but the second he gets traded to wearing a green shirt instead of our beloved blue shirt than he is dead to us. “We don’t care if he is skilled and talented and deserving all of the admiration and praise his physical prowess deserves, because he is wearing green instead of blue… So, booo.”

In a way, a team’s jersey seems to be the most sacred cloth one can behold. It is held up above the players, above the coaches, and even above the beer. Disrespecting the jersey seems almost as bad as taking a knee during the National Anthem. If you’re wearing it you are one of us. If you are not wearing it, well then you deserved to be jeered at and threatened with physical violence in the parking lot, or in the stadium’s bathrooms. This seems to be because, wearing your team’s jersey makes people feel a part of something larger. As if by putting on the jersey or cheering for the athletes on the field a fan feels as if they are actually contributing to the winning success of a team. Perhaps the same also applies when deriding fans of other teams.

It is an odd thing to behold as an outsider to this culture. We will perhaps enjoy dressing up as our favorite Star Wars characters or Star Trek characters at conventions, but we do not necessarily take pleasure in shouting down or insulting people in opposing costumes or wearing opposing fandom. In the end a comic convention, regardless of what one is wearing, is about sharing your passions with one another. We would hope a football game could be similar, where people of different regions and teams could come together to eat nachos, drink carbonated beverages, and enjoy the company other people who share their passions, even if they are not precisely dressed in the same attire. However, we also understand that there is a difference between the fulfillment one gets out of being a part of a football team, and the fulfillment one gets out of going to a comic convention.

Running with the Pack(ers)
Did you ever talk with a fan of a team like the Philadelphia Bird Men or the New England Red, White, and Bluers? When talking about the accomplishments of their team they often talk using the word “We:” “We did really great this year,” “I can’t believe we fumbled that pass,” “We got benched for three days with a concussion,” etc. Well, part of that goes to the root of team sports culture in general. We once again turn back to Art Markham, for an examination of this phenomena.

According to the professor, “Family traditions and sports rivalries play two important roles in our lives. They connect us to our past, and they help us to create the family that sustains us in our future.” In essence, sports pride and rivalries are like ancestral traditions passed on through the generations. People cling to their teams in much the same way that they cling to the way their family celebrates Christmas, or goes to the beach every summer, or has pasta Thursdays. Being a fan of the New England Red, White, and Bluers, or the New York ASLM, or the Philly Bird Men, is tradition and it fills a part of a person’s subconscious need to be a part of a familial group, whether that be your own family, or the guy sitting across from you at the bar wearing that very same jersey.

Markham goes on to say that, “When a rivalry disappears, though, it is a real loss. It disconnects us from our past and affects our relationships into the future.” That is because we -as imperfect humans- tend to define ourselves and our groups against the groups we are not. Now, we’ve spent a good part of this article calling “sports rivalries dumb,” but they are actually natural extensions of our need for tribal definition. The truth is that rivalries and sports traditions can actually help the well-being of fans, “Because blood relatives often live far apart, we all need some way to replace that connection that family provides. Those transcendent moments in sports where an entire stadium erupts in cheers create at least a fleeting sense of membership in a larger community.”

The Professional Football League knows this, -just as we know they will sue us if we use any of their copyrighted names or football phrases- and they do their best to keep rivalries in the same divisions and put games with rival football teams in prime time sports. Rivalry is good for their business, because ultimately it gives people something to cheer for and something to cheer against. So, we may not still fully get it, but we do understand it. So we hope you sports fans out there will forgive us for taking good-natured pot-shots at the concept of sports rivalries, but we know that football fans can take it. After all, its nothing as harsh as anything a rival team’s fan would yell to you in a parking lot.

Anyway, pass the fried food and turn on the commercials… err football game.

NYCC

Dear New York Comic Con -and your parent company ReedPOP,

We, here at The NYRD, want to start this letter by saying that we have always been big supporters of what you do. Your convention was one of our favorite events of the year and most of us have been attending since the very beginning. In fact, each year we have even coerced more and more friends, family, and even strangers into attending your event. Moreover, New York Comic Con brought us together and inspired us to follow our nerdy passions. Without NYCC there may not have ever been The NYRD.

That is why we find it so heartbreaking to say that we will not be attending your convention this year. Your latest ticketing policies have proven that NYCC is no longer about fans and fun, but about profits and greed. You have lost sight of what is important and we can no longer support you.

Now, please understand we are not claiming that you should offer your convention for free. You have the right to make a profit. We understand that, but your current “fan verification” process is both unwieldy and unnecessary. In order to purchase a ticket a fan must first go through the Fan Verification Process. Then when the day finally comes, fans must use their specific verification link to go to the ticket site, where they can wait for hours in a virtual queue. Assuming the servers don’t crash or tickets aren’t sold out, fans then finally get a chance to purchase their passes with hard-earned money. However, the process is not done. Next fans have to create an account to assign those tickets to pre-verified attendees. If they fail to do so than the tickets will be taken away with no questions asked. Meanwhile, this process is explained only through emails. That means anyone who wants to attend NYCC must be on the email list, and must remember to check their spam filters as -inevitably- at least one or most of these blast messages can be flagged as spam by certain email services. All of this is compounded by technical problems on your end.

In at least one instance when assigning tickets to their proper “verified” attendees the process failed completely. A member of our staff had his ticket refunded without warning, even after he completed the assignment process. It was made even worse by the fact that he was one person who only bought one ticket. Commonsense would seem to dictate that one person who purchased one ticket would be using that ticket for themselves. Your ticket assignment process should at least automatically recognize that the person who wasted their time to “verify,” “purchase,” and “register,” would be using at least one of the tickets they bought. Your new process and zero tolerance policies are hurting real people who only want to attend NYCC. So, if fans fail to jump through one of the hoops that constitutes your new system, then their money is refunded and their tickets are taken away, with no chance for an appeal.

Objectively, even your convoluted process of verification and registration can be doable by many attendees, and we are sure the floors of NYCC will still be packed with hundreds of thousands of people. However, that is also part of the point we are making. You, ReedPOP and NYCC, know full well that you are going to make money regardless of the sheer number of lunatic hurdles that you place in front of fans. New York Comic Con is going to sell out, because it is New York City. By the law of averages, you could require attendees to capture live raccoons with bar codes tattooed onto their stomachs and still get at least 100,000 people. However, just because you can do something does not mean that you should.

In years passed you had a simply code-registration system, which worked fine. It may not have stopped all the scalping, but it had the added benefit of being understandable and simple for convention goers to accomplish. Here is a news flash: You cannot stop 100% of scalping. Yes, you can limit it, and we would argue the reasonable measures you had put in place, in the past, did well to do that. However, making people jump through flaming hoops of crap to buy tickets, only hurts actual fans. We guarantee with the utmost certainty that there will still be people on 34th street hawking passes regardless of your new draconian rules. It happens at sporting events, music concerts, and even movies, but those venues do not require that attendees offer up DNA verification or one of their first born as collateral.

NYCC, we know that you are just following the example of your older brother, SDCC, but there was still scalping at San Diego Comic Con this past year, regardless of their regulations. With hundreds of thousand of attendees, no verification process or registration process is going to stop all the scalped tickets from getting through the door. We are not condoning scalping, but we also do not condone policies that are aimed at assuming everyone is guilty of the crime unless proven otherwise. The real problem is that NYCC is punishing people who had no intention of scalping in the first place, instead of trying to encourage fans to attend this wonderful and amazing event.

As a final nail in the proverbial geek coffin, tickets cannot be purchased at any retailers. In the past fans were able to buy tickets at Midtown Comics or other local comic stores, but not this year. That means that you will not be getting many new attendees. Casual fans have now been excluded. Anyone who had a possible passing interest in checking out NYCC can no longer wait in line and buy a physical badge from their local comic store. If people were not made aware of the new fan verification process months in advance of ticket sales, then they stand little chance of getting a ticket. In essence, this policy is actually hurting nerd and geek culture by discouraging new people from going to conventions. That is incredibly disheartening, especially coming from a convention of which we have always been such big supporters. Yet, as long as you get paid, than maybe you don’t really care what this does to fans.

Trust us, you will get your money. You always do, but policies like this lay bare the fact that your money is all you care about. Unfortunately, that is not a surprise. As much as we have loved attending New York Comic Con, we have seen a trend in the past decade. NYCC used to be about fans, with small panels such as nerd rock concerts or video game improv, but the convention has changed. Long gone are the quirky fan events or intimate shows. They have been slowly replaced by big budget stage productions from giants like Marvel, DC, Legendary, and more. At some point the convention stopped being about us, the attendees, and started being about corporate sponsorship. This trend has finally culminated in the current ridiculous and convoluted ticket process that only proves that NYCC and ReedPOP don’t care about being loyal to the nerd and geek community. All you care about is the bottom line, and that is the worst tragedy of all.

So, it is with heavy hearts that we here at The NYRD must announce that we will not be attending your event this year. We can no longer support an organization that so blatantly disregards the very people that have helped make it what it is. Your policies will not stop scalping, but they will stop true fans from attending NYCC. You can bank on that.

Sincerely,
The NYRD

May 25th is Geek Pride Day. Geeks and nerds have come a long way over the past sixty years since the term first entered into popular use in the 1950’s. The term nerd was coined by none other than Dr. Seuss in his book If I Ran a Zoo. If you don’t have time to read it, check out the Matt Damon film adaptation. In 1951 Newsweek reported that the term was used in Detroit Michigan to describe someone as “a drip,” or “a square.” Being a nerd in 1951 Detroit meant wedgies, and probably not being able to go to the sock-hop on Friday nights or something like. Fortunately, it is 2016 and the nerd population -along with its vibrancy and appeal- is soaring, while Detroit, ironically… not so much. Our point: Nerds Rule, but that wasn’t always the case.

Taking Back Nerd Day
A lot of people want to make distinctions between terms like “Geek,” “Nerd,” “Poindexter,” “Dweeb,” “Anime Fan,” but we here at The NYRD -get it- never really liked making those kinds of comparisons. Yes, each word can have separate meanings, but when taken together, what you get is a collection of the downtrodden, the kids who played instruments in the marching band, or who doodled math equations in gym class, or screwed up their first ever date because they couldn’t shut up about the intricacies of Star Fleet rank structure. We all have something in common, we didn’t quite fit in, like a rhombus shaped peg trying to squeeze into a Euclidean special ellipsis hole. Words like “Geek,” after all, used to literally mean freak, and maybe that’s why we have always preferred using “Nerd.” According to Wikipedia:

Nerd is a derogatory slang term for a person typically described as socially-impaired, obsessive, or overly intellectual. They may spend inordinate amounts of time on unpopular or obscure activities, pursuits, or interests, which are generally either highly technical, or relating to topics of fiction or fantasy, to the exclusion of more mainstream activities. Other nerdy qualities include physical awkwardness, introversion, quirkiness, and unattractiveness.

If you continue reading the article, it goes on to say that the term “nerd” has been re-appropriated by some as a term of pride and group identity, and we would argue that has gone a long way to changing the perception of our subculture. In the 1950’s people were ashamed to be called nerds, and now nerdy interests rule at the box office, on HBO, and on video game consoles across the world. Some might say that nerds have evolved, moving from the stereotypical glasses-wearing social outcast to Nathan Fillion, but that is not the full story. We have always been intelligent, passionate, and very cool individuals. The perception of nerds, however, has evolved.

It’s all Geek to Me
Potsie Weber was a nerd, and though Happy Days, was really a sitcom from 1974, it was meant as a reflection of the 1950’s. Warren “Potsie” Weber was the show’s nerd character, and often called so by others. He was socially awkward, gullible, and credited as not being too bright. He did his best to fit in with Richie and the Fonz, but it never quite worked out. He was often the butt of jokes, but in the end Potsie proved to be a talented musician and smart enough to eventually become a psychiatrist. He may not have wore glasses, but he was a nerd all the same. He was someone who found his his talents and interests undervalued, yet he constantly attempted to fit in.

By 1984, and the release of Revenge of the Nerds, the stereotype had been cemented. Glasses, suspenders, pocket-protectors and the works. Nerds were no longer just socially awkward people trying to fit in, they had become full-blow space cases. They were seen as weird and hopeless outsiders living in their own pimply world. It was a formula followed by such notables as Steve Urkel on Family Matters, Milhouse Van Houten on The Simpsons, and other nerdy, awkward, and annoying characters. -Thankfully, these later incarnations left out the “rapey-ness” of Revenge of the Nerds- Other notables of the 1980’s and 1990’s were Samuel “Screech” Powers from Saved By the Bell, and Carlton Banks from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Though they were not adorned with glasses and suspenders, each was a nerd, especially when compared with the popular main characters, and that was always the point. Nerds in the 80’s and 90’s no longer tried to fit in like Potsie did. Instead they lived in a world all their own that was strange and a subject of ridicule. They were the butt of every joke. Nerds were side-characters. They were comedic foils for much cooler leads, but then the 21st century arrived.

We do not want to mislead you. There are still plenty of socially clumsy, angry, and annoying nerd characters that arose in the 2000’s and 2010’s, such as The Office‘s Dwight Schrute, and any cast member of The Big Bang Theory, –very annoying– but at least we are no longer regulated to being side-jokes. Perhaps because of the success of characters like Urkel, or because actual nerds rose to power within the industry, Hollywood started recognizing the need for more mainstream nerd characters, and more complex ones. Characters like Charles Bartowski from Chuck, or Liz Lemon from 30 Rock, give us the more modern outlook on what a “nerd” has become. In essence, the modern take on the “geek” is a combination of the two older views. The world of nerds is still separate and strange, but no longer a subject of ridicule, and not our sole realm of existence. Nerds are still awkward and have odd obsessions but they are also characters with drive and ambition, as well as real problems and personalities. Hollywood -as well as the rest of the country- have finally realized that being a nerd is more than glasses and pocket protectors.

Nerdstream Media
If you need more proof of the mainstreaming of nerd culture you really need look no further than the article and the website you are currently reading, -We’re a pretty big deal- but if that isn’t enough to convince you, than just think of the movies everyone is watching this summer: Captain America, X-Men, Ghostbusters, Batman and Superman. Comic book movies, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Harry Potter. All these franchises have at least one movie coming out in the next year and all are expected to make quite a multi-million dollar splash. They are also all things that all have their roots in nerd culture. Granted, you will probably not see your high school quarterback rolling a D20 anytime soon, or the captain of the cheerleading squad shouting in Dothraki, but thanks -in part- to the internet nerds have never had it better.

The acceptance of nerd culture may have something to do with the general malaise and cynicism of modern times, a reaction to trends that started with grunge and emo music in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Yes, it can be “cool” to sometimes pretend to be disinterested and aloof, but it is also boring. Nerds on the other hand are the last people on the planet that are legitimately allowed to get spazzed-out excited over things. First of all, because we -by definition- are not cool, so we do not have to worry about appearing as such. Secondly, we just have so much cooler stuff to get excited over. When was the last time anyone dressed in costume to go see a George Clooney Indie Film debut, unless you count hipsters, but they are always in costume. Turn, instead, to the openings of Star Wars, or any Marvel movie, where you get a bevy of irrationally excited movie-goers dressed as everything from Jedi to wizards. Even attendees at Comic Con are no longer people who would usually claim themselves as “nerds.” Who would have ever thought that things like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, or even Star Trek would draw non-nerd fans -we call you normies– but it makes sense. After all, when you are faced with a choice between a world filled with Kardashians or a world filled with wizards we would like to think that wizards would win every time.

People just want to get excited over things. Fantasy and imagination are not traits limited to a sub-culture of the population. Everyone has dreams, and hopes, and the desire to see laser guns blow up spaceships, awesome sword fights, or even dragons. Being a nerd is really nothing more than remembering that at one point you were a child. Everyone threw a towel over their shoulders and called it a cape or swung a stick around and called it a lightsaber, but the only difference between a nerd and everyone else is that for us that time was last week. More to the point being a nerd means being smart,  passionate, and/or talented in ways that are not always recognized by the mainstream, and those are all good things. Being quirky makes life interesting, and have a like-minded group of friends -even if others think they are wierdos- is what makes life important. It’s about having fun, being yourself, and most importantly not taking life too seriously.

One thing has been made painfully clear this election cycle, America is in need of an overhaul of its political system. For the past century the United States has been stuck with two powerful political parties and now both the Democrats and Republicans are showing more holes than the plot of Spider-Man 3, except maybe with more believable acting performances. Both monolithic political parties have maintained a stranglehold on American ideology and the election process, and if the popularity of Bernie Sanders and even Donald Trump show anything it is that America is ready to split from a world dominated by only two options. It is time for a new vision of American politics. It is time for a third party to arise form the ashes. Now is the time of the nerd.

The Baneful Effects
In his farewell speech to the American public -before ascending to Asgard- George Washington warned the newborn country against political parties, believing that it could undermine the electoral process and incite Americans “with ill-founded jealousies.” Now, he did not mention Donald Trump by name, but we like to think that Washington saw exactly what was coming, because Donald Trump is the end result of the party system. The Republican Party has spent the last eight years turning Congress into a game of “Us versus Them.” The GOP stopped being about governing and became about opposing everything that President Obama and the Democratic party tried to do. Donald Trump is nothing more than the cave troll that they uncovered in their excavation of the American political landscape. He does not need to run on any coherent policy platform. The GOP has laid the groundwork that politics is no longer about governing, but winning, and if there is one thing “The Donald” is good at it, it is inciting his followers to believe that winning is all that matters.

That is what the modern political party system has become, a game of winners and losers, Yankees vs. Red Sox, Giants vs. Eagles, X-Wings vs. TIE Fighters, etc… and the Democratic Party shares as much blame in this as their rivals across the aisle. The Dems often like to play the victim card -portraying the Republicans as the intractable bullies and bogeymen- which only further radicalizes the political parties, and that is something they benefit from as much as their opponents. Too often the Democratic call to action is not so much “Vote for Our Candidate,” as it is “Vote against Their Candidate.” When people stop thinking about governing in terms of individual candidates and their individual policies or ideas, and start thinking about voting out of fear, then we have to admit the process is no longer working. Even worse, Democratic Presidential candidates know they can ignore states like New Jersey and New York, because they are perpetual blue states. That means unless you live in Iowa, Florida, or the mansion of Lex Luthor your individual concerns are never going to be fully addressed by any national level candidate, and the effects are even worse when it comes to Senators and Representatives. With our two-party system, staunchly Democrat or Republican districts have little say in their elected officials. In areas where party loyalties are unbreakable then elections are a foregone conclusion, and you basically have the political party deciding who will get to be the next Congressman and not the voters.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, 60% of the American people say that they are ready for a major third party, but where would this new party fall on the political spectrum, the right side, the left side, the dark side? No, it is pretty clear that any major third party needs to be both centrist and youth based. We need a party that can approach the political table not with dogmatic party standards, but a real desire to affect change that can be embraced by the Millennial Generation and beyond. That is why we here at The NYRD are suggesting the formation of the Nerd Party. Think about it, what does being a nerd truly mean? It means we are outsiders, just like the kind of people that America is clamoring to vote for. It also means that we are stereotypically intelligent, which is more than you can say for a lot of the candidates still in the race. Lastly, it means that nerds are in touch with pop culture and the next generation of voters. Also we can quote Star Wars and Family Guy, and that always make filibusters more entertaining. At the very least, the introduction of the Nerd Party could help break down the established party lines, and get our elected officials back to becoming governors instead of perpetual campaigners, because like Magic: The Gathering, it is always more interesting when you have three or more sides playing rather than just 1 vs 1.

The Good the Bad and the Nerd
The Nerd Party will encourage its candidates to think about every decision as part of the larger picture, not based upon the political interests of the party, or left versus right. As centrists  we extremely believe that extreme beliefs are usually extremely wrong. Eating ice cream for every meal can be just as hazardous to your health as nuclear war -and is just as extreme as that last example. Very few people are completely conservative or completely liberal. In fact in 2015 the number of independents in America reached an all time high, with 43% of Americans claiming to be neither Democrat nor Republican. So the Nerd Party understands that it is unreasonable to make the voting public choose between entirely liberal or entirely conservative candidates, despite the fact of how our system currently works, or doesn’t work.

Political parties -and certain cable news networks- have convinced the public that they only ever have two choices, and that misrepresentation benefits no one but the political parties themselves. Individual candidates -like their voters- are often an amalgamation of beliefs and ideas, like some kind of publicly elected Voltron. Privately candidates may support some aspects of their party’s official platforms and not others, but in our modern world of Red vs. Blue, there is no room for gray… or purple. Instead, moderate conservatives, centrist liberals, New York Republicans, conservative libertarians, Dwarven socialists, and Vulcan Marxists all get pushed to the fringes of one side or another, lumped together with one ideological platform or its opposite. That means reasonable elected officials are forced to promote the extremes of the political spectrum in order to keep favor with their party. Toeing that party line often requires many moderate candidates to compromise or discard any difference they may have, and any refreshing or well-meaning ideas often get lost in the constant pitched battle of the political arena.

Believe it or not, both political parties actually have good ideas and bad ideas. The beauty of the United States is supposed to be our ability find the compromise between them. In the past, the moods of the electorate have swung back and forth like an oiled pendulum from Republican to Democrat to Republican to Democrat: Carter to Reagan, Bush to Clinton, Bush to Obama, but now extreme forces in both parties have pushed that pendulum to its breaking point. “Reasonable compromise” has become akin to consorting with the enemy and it could cost a Congressman the ire of his or her party which in turn could cost them their position. That is what the Nerd Party aims to fix, because -as our grandparents always told us- we’re good with fixing that “technology stuff.” So, did you try turning the electorate off and then back on again?

The Millennial Factor
Bernie Sanders is a hit with “the kids.” According to recent polling, Sanders has a 16% lead among voters aged 35 and younger, especially young women voters. There is a reason his message resonates with the younger electorate. Sanders tends to talk about the issues that Millennials are most concerned with. According to USA Today voters under the age of 35 are 80% in favor of renewable energy, 82% in favor of background checks for gun ownership, even among young Republicans. They are also increasingly in favor of marriage equality, gender equality, and much more. However, the halls of power and the political parties are still very much controlled by older generations who only seem to care about political infighting. That means for Millennials and other young Americans there is a disconnect between what they want to see happening and what is actually happening. That can be frustrating, especially as Senators and Representatives cling to their elected positions for thirty or forty year -thanks modern medical science- never once forced to change their opinion on anything, and often with no viable political rival to replace them.

The irony here -for both political parties- is that younger voters identify with both conservative and liberal ideas. Even though the next generation tends to tilt toward Democrats rather than the GOP by 41% to 28%, Millennial voters are more likely to identify with the conservative party on policies of economics, international relations, and BBQ recipes. Again and unfortunately, the Dem/GOP system is binary, and that hurts candidates more than it helps. Even if a Republican candidate had a smart and effective plan to cut spending and lower the college debt they will still lose youth voters because they are forced to follow their party’s script on banning marriage equality or background checks for firearms. For younger voters who tend to vote with their social ideals they may never find a candidate they agree with on all fronts, and very often that leads to a system of “voting against the opposition.”

Bernie Sanders may not win the nomination, and if that happens you will have a lot of people -especially Millennials-  who will be forced to support Hillary Clinton -a candidate they do not want- in order to defeat the greater of two evils. The truth is that a candidate like Bernie probably would have fared better in an electoral system where there were three or even more established political parties to choose from. Unfortunately, for the Independent Senator from Vermont -and his legion of Twitter followers- to be considered a viable candidate for the US Presidency under our current system you need to run as part of one of the two major political parties. That means going through political primaries, which is basically the Hunger Games of politics.

Battle Royale
The nomination process is especially hard on candidates. Winning the vote of the American people is hard enough, but convincing a political party that you stand for everything they want you to stand for often forces even moderate candidates to move to one side of the spectrum or the other. Regardless of what a candidate looks like at the beginning of the process the end result is often someone who has been forced into being a poster child for the acceptably branded message of either the Republican or the Democratic party. Remember when John McCain was the maverick of Congress. The top gun Tom Cruise who never feared crossing the aisle to find a compromise to solve a problem? Then he ran for president, and by the time he was done with the primaries there was nothing left but an angry old white conservative man whose only companion was a squawking Alaskan Dodo bird.

That is why the Nerd Party is going to do it differently. We say forget primaries, instead we are going to conduct candidate vetting the same way every other American applies for a job. Our candidates will be expected to submit a letter of interest and a resume, before being asked in for a job interview, because you need four years experience to manage a McDonald’s, and it is not unreasonable to ask the same thing of the people applying to run our country. Moreover, we will not pick our candidates based upon their blind adherence to doctrine or dogma, in fact we encourage our candidates to be free thinkers and find creative solutions to problems. That is why we will also design a series of tests that the potential candidate must pass, including a written exam which will quiz our potential candidates on general knowledge, leadership potential, moral and ethical standards, pop culture, and possible psychic potential. If the candidates score well on the written exam and during the interview process then they will move on to the physical challenge, where they will be tested for strength, mental acuity, leadership abilities, endurance, speed, comedic performance, hand eye-coordination, and martial arts abilities, because you never know when the President may have to retake a hijacked airplane. Once candidates have passed the internal party tests they will be placed into the race with the full support and backing of the party. From that point on their only mandate is do what is best for the country as a whole, and specifically not for the party.

Ain’t No Party Like a Nerd Party
The current political parties are broken. It is time to start thinking toward new political horizons, and the rise of a third party, and that is not actually as far fetched as you might think. Mainstream media and the political parties themselves like to portray the Republican and Democratic parties as permanent fixtures of our political landscape, but historically that has never been true. As much as the Democratic or Grand Old Party would like to have you believe, they are not our country’s first or even second political parties. The first Democrat in the White House was Andrew Jackson, and the first Republican was Abraham Lincoln. Before that there were Federalists, and Whigs, and even the Democratic-Republican Party. You may not believe that the Nerd Party or any new third party could ever rise to prominence in the United States, but thanks to the Internet and the democratization of information that is more possible now than ever in the history of our nation.

The popularity of Bernie Sanders and even Donald Trump show cracks in our old political system. Voters of all ages are pushing back at the political parties whom they feel no longer represent their views. This election has -in a sense- become a battle between the old process and the desire of the next generation to have their voices heard. Sanders persists on Facebook and Twitter even as CNN and Fox News claim he is finished. Donald Trump was able to build a support base, despite being the butt of every late night talk show joke for six months. The time for change is now and the power to do so resides in the very thing you are using to read this absurd piece of rambling information. Now is the time to believe in change. Now is the time to vote Nerd.

We here at The NYRD finally feel that enough time has passed that we can be -relatively- certain that most of the world has seen Star Wars: The Force Rises Groggily After Its Alarm Goes Off. So we decided that now might be the best time to have a heart-to-heart about the movie’s main protagonist, Kylo Ren and how he almost certainly reflects the Star Wars and geek community at large. We are by no means the first people to point this out, but we think that both it and Ren are worth exploring. It should also be said right now that if you haven’t yet seen this movie -because you’ve obviously been frozen in carbonite for the past six months and we want to welcome you back to reality- be warned, SPOILERS AHEAD.

Geeking Out Far Far Away
Kylo Ren is a geek, and not just any geek. He’s a Star Wars geek, and we mean that in both the sense that he is a geek in the Star Wars galaxy and a geek for the Star Wars galaxy, specifically the story of Darth Vader. Kylo Ren is obsessed with Vader in only the way someone on an Internet forum could be. More to the point, he also hates Anakin Skywalker -and possibly Jar Jar Binks- because he is that kind of a nerd. Kylo Ren is a purist. In essence he is a fan of the original trilogy, and only the original trilogy.

It makes sense in a way. Darth Vader is by far one of the coolest villains in all of movie history. Tall, imposing, and vicious he is more a force of nature than an actual person. “More man than machine,” as someone once said. Even when Vader gets angry all he has to do is force choke an admiral or two and be on his way. He almost never flies off the handle or acts irrationally, except for that whole Nooooooooo incident, but we don’t really talk about that… except for right now. The reason that outburst of emotion at the end of Revenge of the Sith seems so odd is because it is way out of character for what we know as the big man in black. That is also why so many people have so many problems with Anakin Skywalker, Kylo Ren included.

Hayden Christensen’s and Jake Lloyd’s acting aside, Anakin is annoying. It is one of the reasons why the prequel trilogy never worked as well as the original. Unfortunately, by the very nature of the character of Anakin Skywalker he will always get immediately compared with Darth Vader and will always come back looking weak and whinny when compared to his cooler and older counterpart. However and more to the point for Kylo Ren, Anakin Skywalker was good and Darth Vader was not, and that is where the distinction seems to be drawn for our Master of the Knights of Ren. The son of Han and Leia is a hardcore fan. He practically cosplays as the man and he even went so far as to collect memorabilia of his grandfather -though he did take it out of its original packaging so it will eventually depreciate in value.

Let the Nerd Rage Flow Through You
The irony is that Kylo Ren is arguably more powerful than his grandfather. It was often said that all the machinery in Vader kept him from fully accessing the Force, but his grandson does not have that limitation. He does not merely stop a blaster bolt with his hand, as Vader did. Ren freezes it completely in mid-air, and then proceeds to have a conversation with very little effort. Kylo Ren can rip memories and information from people’s minds. He does not simply Force choke his opponents he completely incapacitates them. However, unlike Vader’s cool and simmering anger, Ren’s rage explodes in violent tantrums. In many ways he is a child, an incredible dangerous one, but a child nonetheless.

What makes Kyle Ren more dangerous than Darth Vader is that Ren is a white-knuckled-zealous-fanatic when it comes to the First Order. He doesn’t just believe in this new diet version of the Empire, he lives it. It is part of his identity as a person. Anakin Skywalker on the other hand only joined Palpatine in some misguided attempt to save Queen Panda Bear. He held some beliefs similar to Darth Sidious, but his motives were more about justifying a personal end. That is why he ultimately turned back toward the lightside when confronted with the faith of his son, and why Ben Solo did not turn back when faced with the faith of his father. His obsession with the First Order and the darkside are part of how he identifies himself as a person, same as any one of us who proudly label ourselves as an unabashed Star Wars geek or nerd. After all, that is why so many people get so angry over things like the Special Editions, or the prequels, or anything else George Lucas did in the past two decades. No matter how much we may not mean to, we make these things part of ourselves and then when someone or something threatens them we react, sometimes irrationally.

In the Star Wars: The Force Struggles to Brew Its Morning Coffee, Kylo Ren’s rage is often triggered when things are not going his way, but especially when people violate the things he holds sacred. When faced with “Finn the Human” he very clearly yells the word “traitor,” because that matters to him. Finn, by running away from the First Order, stepped on something Ren holds dear. Vader, on the other hand, never cared if you were a defecting stormtrooper, Rebel-cannon-fodder #2, or a Kowakian monkey-lizard. He would just kill you without needing to tell you what you were. Also and in the most heavy handed symbolism of the movie, Kylo Ren literally unleashes his rage on a computer terminal, because that’s what you do when you’re a nerd. If someone argues that “Greedo shot first,” your only recourse is to thrash wildly at a computer screen until you make your point, and that is exactly the guiding principle that drive Ren through most of the movie. Some people may find him to be an uncomfortable, petulant, and unabashed man-child. Unfortunately, that is also exactly how many people see us Millennials.

The Millennials’ Falcon
Kylo Ren is the kind of person who will defend his obsession with the countenance of a cosplaying Sith Lord who just got told that Captain Kirk could beat up Darth Maul, because he is a Millennial. Think about it for a moment. We can assume he was raised in relative comfort, living in the shadow of his famous parents. He probably never faced much hardship as the previous war was mostly won by the time he was born. The Empire was defeated, his parents and uncle were heroes, and he was expected to live up to their legacy. Yet, he was not as cool as his father, as smart as his mother, or as focused as his uncle. He probably spent much of his childhood feeling inadequate and alone and -like many of us- he turned to stories for solace and escape. He found his identity and idol in the man who was his grandfather. Dark, imposing, and powerful, Vader must have seemed like a mythic figure to young Ben Solo. He did not just want to be like the Sith lord, he wanted to be the Sith lord. He even went so far as to kill other Jedi students, emulating the violent acts of the man he admires.

Not all Millennials have lived the easy life in the shadow of the hardwork of their parents, just as not all nerds rage at computer screens when people disagree with them, but there is an intersection of both populations where that is the case. Jar Jar Abrams is making a comment on the blind fanaticism of hardcore Star Wars fans, but there might also be a valid criticism buried under that black mask as well. There is something ultimately chilling about a geek gone wrong. Kylo Ren is a villain who feels alone and unloved, and he long ago gave up reality for the fantasy of his obsessions. He did not just fall from the lightside, but actively ran from it. Despite his in inability to properly pace a movie, Abrams does a good job of holding up a mirror to his own audience. We are like Luke Skywalker, entering the Darkside Tree on Dagobah. We think we are facing an all powerful imposing villain, but instead when the mask falls away, we find a reflection of our own faces.

For the most part, Millennials, especially nerds and geeks, are amazing people. Most of them will give you the limited edition 1978 Millennium Falcon shirt right off their backs, but we must all admit that there is a darker aspect to our culture and our love of things, like Star Wars. Like Kylo Ren we tend to make our favorite stories a part of our identities and personalities, and then we rage against the people we perceive as threatening who we are. With the advent of the social media and a popular culture that has suddenly embraced all things geeky, the angry nerd is starting to become a villain. In a way we may be forgetting to actually enjoy the things we claim to love, and instead we are spending our time looking for all the little things that make us angry. The true irony is that there has been no bigger target for nerd rage over the last fifteen years than Star Wars. So maybe Abrams actually hit the womp rat on the nose with this one.  Star Wars: The Force Drags Itself Out of Bed and into the Shower was by no means a perfect movie, but it does remind us that it was just a movie.

Long ago, our ancestors gazed up to the stars to find the meaning and guidance that was hidden in the sparkly goodness of the zodiac. For in those celestial shapes they found wisdom and stories of great heroes and deeds. We are no different than our stargazing forefathers, as we too tell stories of heroes and sepia toned supermen, and those stars still hold many truths for us, as well, which are just waiting to be discovered.

Much like the standard zodiac the signs of the nerd zodiac or Nerdiac can give us great insights into our day to day living as well as the many talents and special qualities we posses as both people and geeks. Many ancient nerds believed that you could discover a great deal of relevant information about yourself through reading about your Nerdiac sign. So we at The NYRD invite you to find your sign and your destiny.

Archaeologist
March 21 to April 19
AcherologistThe Archaeologist is a desert sign and those born under it are regarded as adventurous, active, and outgoing. It won’t matter where you go or how remote or unusual it is. From the Outback to the Antarctic, you can be sure that an Archaeologist has been there before you. Although they are independent, outgoing and assertive they are also surprisingly trusting, and at times will innocently walk into a temple of doom with no thought for their own safety. They love to discover new things, and very much believe these things should be shared with the world, because sometimes it really does belong in a museum. Yet, no matter what upheaval, challenge, or triumph that confronts them, Archaeologists have a wonderful ability to find their way through. Their faith in life and the future remains untouched by hardship, and their gift is such that with every new discovery the world is still a magical place (and there are sometimes aliens, but we try not to think about that one.)

The Archaeologist is considered the most masculine sign of the nerd zodiac, with females born under the sign sometimes called Crofts and men sometimes called Jones. In romance, Archaeologists are forceful, dynamic, and aggressive, and can often intimidate potential partners. For true happiness a person born under the Archaeologist sign needs a partner that balances their component traits (their true mirror reflection side). This balance can often be referred to as The O’Connells. Archaeologists are doers rather than talkers. They are the impulsive. They act first and doubt later. Their ability to live life close to the edge provides them with a wealth of real experience to call upon. Being active people Archaeologists cannot adapt to any kind of restriction, particularly possessive relationships. They often travel to escape any feelings of being stuck or possessed, even have been know to jump out of their own office windows on occasion.

Vulcan
April 20 to May 20
VulcanUnderneath their cool, calm, and logical exterior, Vulcans differ greatly from all the other signs of the nerd zodiac. Often times they will let others get close, but only so close as they want them. Some claim that trying to connect with a Vulcan on an emotional level is similar to trying to break through a Tholian Web, but that is not true at all. There is no such thing as an open-book Vulcan, but their feelings, fears, and desires often run far deeper than anyone around them would guess. In some ways, of all the souls you may encounter a Vulcan’s will be the most human. Their true spirit often remains hidden behind a veneer of day-to-day activities, which is why those born under the Vulcan sign can sometimes be perceived as withdrawn, boring, or even cold. In terms of the future, Vulcans hate the unknown and often strive to create tomorrow in advance, rather than leave it to fate. They do not normally seek adventure or the unknown, instead preferring a life where they can live long and prosper in other realms.

In love, they are regarded as extremely sensual beings, but ones which only mate on an average of once every seven years. For most people, a relationship with a Vulcan will be defined by intellectual pursuits and based in cold hard reality, but when a Vulcan mates, they mate for life. It is the rare and lucky person, (friend or lover) for which a Vulcan will reveal his true inner self, because he or she has and always shall be your friend.

Timelord
May 21 to June 20
TimelordThose born under the sign of Timelord are always on the move; thirsty for knowledge and new experiences. Terminally curious and sometimes even mischievous, Timelords are multi-faceted souls who enjoy knowing a little bit of everything. Those born under the sign of Timelord have also gained the reputation of being the incessant talkers, and have a special interest in anything foreign or unique in the universe. Their comfort zone has almost no boundaries, and as such when things often look their worse a Timelord will be in their prime. In love, they look for a companion who can keep up with them mentally and physically. Among the many signs of the nerd zodiac, they are the sign that is often discussed, dissected, and sometimes even put down most by the other Nerdiac signs. This is sometimes a subtle form of jealousy by others, because Timelords lead very unique and unusual lives. Those born under this sign are lovers of adventure and game playing that involves out-thinking other people.

Their personality usually appears mysterious or detached to others and therefore they are often misunderstood and unappreciated for the talents they offer to the world at large, but this does not mean they do not feel, for in fact they have two hearts. Most members of this sign simply hide their feelings behind their jovial and verbose natures. It is rare and often scary when a Timelord chooses to reveal any hurt, pain, or sacrifice they bear. That is called going a little Capaldi. It is has been said, that even demons run when a Timelord goes to war.

River
June 21 to July 22
RiverThose born under the sign of River, are one of the Nerdiac’s enigmas. It is fair to say that most are a bundle of contradictions and mysteries. One moment, a River can seem like a child, scared and alone, the next that same person can be capable of slaying a hundred Reavers. They invoke strong family ties, especially those between siblings. Those born under this sign are also incredibly intuitive to the point of being psychic. They can be compassionate and caring with friends and family, yet find a weakness that will cut you to your bone. The mood of a River is ever changing, making them endearingly eccentric and insecure. They are often described as an albatross, both lucky and unlucky depending on how they are handled. Rivers go through many phases of experience. Life doesn’t stand still for this sign of the nerd zodiac, and even if they remain in one place or on one ship, they live as much in their internal ocean of emotions as they do among reality.

They flow both up and down, like a leaf on the wind. Most Rivers feel one way one minute, then sometimes totally different the next. With their changeable natures Rivers are fascinating, mysterious, stimulating, and extremely alluring. This sign is one of the most alluring of all and once their touch has reached you, they can be the most beguiling partners and co-pilots you can hope to find out there in the black.

Kingslayer
July 23 to August 22
KingslayerKingslayers are said to be born fortunate. Charismatic and ambitious, they attract not only an abundance of friends and opportunities, but manage to survive life’s stormy times with style and good humor. Once a Kinglsayer is committed to a relationship, no matter how incestuous it may be, they are totally devoted and faithful. Any born under this nerdy zodiac sign are often considered honorable, though others may find their honor to be a twisted sort of one. Much like their namesake who slew the mad king, Kingslayers will often taken measures that may seem extreme, but are entirely justifiable to themselves. In love, should their heart or trust be broken they will never forgive or forget. When a relationship breaks down -even a long standing one- they can disappear into the South without a backwards look. For a Kingslayer, when a relationship is over, really over, it is over for good. They will move on, sometimes finding solace in new and larger companions.

Above all Kingslayers are trendsetters, leaders, and adventurers. Their weakness is their pride, and sometimes their golden hand. Some sayings associated with those born under the Kingslayer are, “flattery will get you everything,” and a “Kingslayer always repays his debts,” in coin as well as in blood.

Samwise
August 23 to September 22
SamwiseSamwise are often put down by many and perceived as being soft and provincial. But when this sign of the nerd zodiac shines, there is practically no stopping their inner light. When a person born under the Samwise sign is confident within themselves they are the most successful, structured, and creative of all the Nerdiac signs. Many Samwise can be found working in the service to others, such as teachers, gardeners, and fellowship companions. One of the most magical characteristics of the Samewise is no matter how many times life turns sour on them, they still manage to maintain faith in others, refusing to become cynical. There is an genuineness around this sign, a kind-heartedness, which unfortunately is sometimes played upon by others for their advantage. Samwise can often become victims of relationship power-games, where they are mistreated. Creative and sensitive, people born under Samwise are delicate, like rare and special orchids that often require individual treatment to fully blossom into their true unique beauty.

Shy at times, they are content to allow others to take center-stage and often generate their time and energy into making those they love happy or successful. They are givers and when the chips are down and you need someone to help you bear your burden to a mountain of fire, you want a Samwise. With them in your life, you will always have someone who understands and cares, and any romance or friendship based upon these qualities is certain to be mutually rewarding.

Link
September 23 to October 22
LinkIt is the fantasy of every adolescent born under the Link sign to rescue the prince or princess of their dreams. As their lives unfold and the Song of Time is played, the experiences, false starts, dramas, broken heart pieces and disillusionment they encounter while seeking this personal quest, often shapes their futures in the most extraordinary manner. Love and love-lost (especially when lost to evil wizards) makes a big difference to someone born under this sign of the nerd zodiac, although the happy-go-lucky appearance they present -against all kinds of odds- may not reveal this as fact. Links can switch off from the world, as easily as turning off a video game. Many who fall under the sign of Link can be difficult to fathom, but that is because many born under this Nerdiac sign often don’t express the more diverse sides to their personalities. When applied their charm can win jobs and provide powerful friends, whether Zora or Goron.

It is a sad fact that many Links fair far better in both personal and professional ventures if they remain alone, but for those who do find their secret dream and rescue their prince or princess, that is another story. A Link must always remember that when they are looking to fulfill their dreams they should never undermine their own integrity, or anger the chickens. Life for a person born under this sign is a true quest, and if they stick to it long enough, not only will they find their Master Sword, but reach their goals, no matter the adversity.

Skywalker
October 23 to November 21
SkywalkerReputed to be one of the most powerful signs of the nerd zodiac and the Jedi, Skywalkers lead fate-filled lives and have intense and dramatic personal relationships. Even as children on Tatoonie, Skywalkers are often found to be wise beyond their years, and gifted pod-racers. Those born under this sign often know all the answers, but they have difficulty finding what they need to develop their own happiness. Passion, desire, and power go hand in hand for those born under this sign. This often leads to many challenges and temptations, and a Skywalker’s biggest test in life is choosing between the power of love and the love of power. Coming to grips with their extraordinary emotional depths and sensitivity isn’t easy for those around them. They are different from all other Nerdiac signs and this difference has them following a different path to their destiny. Others can often live with a Skywalker partner for years -and for many horribly acted scenes- but not really know them. Their eyes often blaze with feelings that words never express, and beware on the days or nights they hide their feelings behind dark helmets, as there is likely to be a force storm brewing.

When you deal with a Skywalker you have to always deal with them on an intuitive level. They often wear a mask and occasionally a respirator, and too often say no when they really mean yes. Once they find true love they can be the most faithful and dedicated of all partners, but fall out badly with a Skywalker and you are likely to find your windpipe being crushed. They never forgive or forget. Most born under Skywalker are winners. The main thing they have to worry about is their attitudes, which influence their mind powers and can either make or break them for the dark or the lightside. When they are negative about something or someone, or critical of themselves, they can tend to get in their own way, because sometimes the only thing found inside the Cave of the Darkside is what you take with you.

Airbender
November 22 to December 21
AirbenderAirbenders possess a natural exuberance, sense of adventure, and love of life that makes them one of the most optimistic  signs of all. Like their element of choice, those born under this Nerdiac sign tend to blow toward whatever it is they find alluring -a love partner, dream job, vacation, etc- and make it their own. Airbenders believe that anything is possible, and because of this belief system, they are adept at seeking out their own destiny. They are not blown by the winds of change, instead they control them and bend them to their will. Sometimes trying to tie down these free-spirited individuals is frustrating for those around them. Airbenders are happiest on the move, exploring new cultures and ideas and many are attracted to occupations related to travel, outdoor work, begin the avatar, and philosophical pursuits. In love, they often shy away from being fenced in, but once they find a partner who understands their needs to retain their own sense of self and identity, Airbenders can be the most big-hearted, generous and fun-loving companions of all.

Although people born under this nerd zodiac sign are often intellectually and spiritually advanced, they are notorious for their directness, which can sometimes be seen by others as a lack of tact. However, they are freedom loving, optimistic, and honest. Those born under Airbender are ruled by a wisdom all their own, and have an inherent need to develop their own unique philosophy of life.

Ironman
December 22 to January 19
IronmanThe sign of the high roller, Ironman is regarded as the Nerdiac’s top in life and business achievers. Often the most hard-shelled and stubborn of the signs, it can be difficult to get an Ironman to concede on any point, whether it be physically, mentally, or politically, especially when it comes to superhero registration. Those born under this nerd zodiac sign are often never content till they reach the top of whatever endeavor they are involved with. However, with their stubborn nature also comes patience, an iron will, and repulsor cannons. They reach their goals because they know the longest journey commences with a single step and that the first step is always the most difficult. However, the one thing an Ironman must always try to do is balance work with play; otherwise they can become too one-sided, sacrificing one aspect for the other. Ironmen often do rise to the occasion when faced with a new task or deadline, even if it sometimes takes them a while.yet, if things go wrong, their ambition to reach the ultimate keeps them moving forever onward and upwards.

They are also innovators who are willing to think outside the box and try unusual approaches on their road to success in business or in love. Romantically, they desire a permanent relationship with someone who will give them the affection they crave and often neglect to give themselves, but finding that person will be a road of trial and error, even if he or she have been staring them in the face -getting coffee, fetching dry-cleaning, being an under appreciated personal assistant, etc- all along. Although many Ironmen are borderline workaholics, this does not necessarily make them dull or gloomy. They have an offbeat sense of humor, which seems to erupt at the most unexpected moments. Their motivating force in life is success, money, status, authority and, -although many might not admit it- love.

Batman
January 20 to February 18
BatmanThose born under the sign of Batman have a high focus on intellect and perfectionism. Others may view them as eccentric or misunderstood. Many inventors, explorers, and caped crusaders are born under this Nerdiac sign, and with such a high level of focus, Batmen succeed in almost any area they devote themselves to, whether it be physical or mental. This trait is often a boon and a bane, as this level of focus also means that a person born under the Batman sign may have trouble letting go of past hurts and are often haunted by the things about their life they cannot change. Many extremes surround this sign, and these extremes can take them to heaven or hell. In everyday terms, most Batmen are humanitarian in nature and often devote themselves to helping others. They can also be objective in judgement, as they have a unique talent for burying their emotions in an inner cave. Men and women born under this nerd zodiac are happiest when they are useful and they often have a strong sense of right and wrong. However, their single-minded obsessions can sometimes lead to a life of insomnia, as those born under the Batman are the most likely to suffer from sleeplessness.

In romance, the Batman is unlucky. The extremes of their life often lead to quick and shallow relationships, as many partners will not see beyond the mask of the billionaire playboy. Those lovers who are able to pierce the veneer will often be another Batman, -also sometimes called a Catwoman, for a female born under this sign- and the relationship, though deep, will never be smooth.

Snape
February 19 to March 20
SnapeMysterious and alluring individuals, most Snapes are gifted in many ways, but still manage to spend most of their lives battling confusing conditions. Snapes are frequently torn between two pathways in life, often mirroring their own conflicting desires to serve or rule. This can lead to an almost dual life as villain and hero. This nerd zodiac sign is acknowledged as being the Saint and the Sinner rolled into one. Snape is the sign of the lost soul, the philosopher, the psychotic, and the visionary. As a credit to them, and considering their many vulnerable characteristics, those born under this sign are incredibly adaptable and resilient. Many Snapes can be amongst the top wizards of the world, but many can also be found in places such as Azkaban. One thing that plays havoc with the life of a member of this Snape sign is romance. They often replace fantasy for reality and this is especially true when it comes to relationships.

Most born under this Nerdiac are more likely to pine for a person from a distance, unable to act on their feelings and yet equally unable to let them go. This can sometimes result in situations were a person born under the sign of Snape may be forced to help the offspring of a long lost love defeat a dark wizard, despite the conflicting emotions of hate and love they may feel for that child. Snapes are the nerd zodiac’s most sensitive sign, and should take extra special care, as nobody can beat them up as much as they can beat themselves up -with maybe with the exception of those kids from Gryffindor.

New York Comic Con has come and gone. We here at The NYRD enjoyed every moment. Check out all the pictures taken by our resident photographer. We want to thank everyone we met and mingled with at the show. This truly was one of the greatest collection of nerds on the east coast. There were some great panels, some big news, some awesome previews, and more than a fair share of excellent displays to keep us busy. Most importantly we got to meet some amazing people and dedicated fans, but that was our experience.

Share your experiences with us in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to like, share, and tweet to us with all your great pictures and moments from this year’s New York Comic Con. For more, remember to keep checking back with The NYRD to stay up to date with all our news, in-depth articles, artwork, and more. Don’t forget to subscribe and contribute. We are always looking for the most excellent of nerds to help our little community grow.

For now enjoy the gallery below and watch our weekend-long adventure as we met, mingled, and geeked our way through New York Comic Con 2015. What more can a NYRD ask for?

The promised weekend has come and gone. San Diego Comic Con 2015 has passed us by, and though the staff members at The NYRD have been trapped across the country in the NY, we have been keeping up with all the goings on, on our sister coast in the SD. The biggest surprise this year seems to be that Marvel has basically taken a back seat, letting DC walk away with the show almost unopposed, but rest assured there has been news on Marvel and Marvel related titles.

Jump to: Marvel, 20th Century Fox, Walking Dead, Lego, Warcraft, Doctor Who, Star Wars, DC Comics

Marvel:
The only real showing on the MCU front was the debut of the Ant-Man suit in the main hall, but in truth it is nothing we haven’t seen before on the trailers or at last year’s comic con.

As for Marvel TV, the panel consisted of stars from Agent Carter, and Agents of SHIELD. It was pretty standard stuff, basically confirming that we can expect a new season of both shows in the fall. The biggest reveal has to do with AOSHIELD, which took place in a video featuring Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Coulson and Skye will be leading a super team called the Secret Warriors, and Skye will officially be dubbed Quake, and her name is now Daisy Johnson. This has basically confirmed theories of her identity in the comic world. They also announced the return of Antoine Triplett, and that Lash from the Inhumans would be joining the show.

On the comic front, Marvel teased a new Blade, indicating that the character would be a female, following the excellent trend the company started with the new Jane Foster Thor. They also teased a new series titled, Spidey, which showed a picture of the familiar red and blue wallcrawler carrying two bank robbers through the sky. The tagline stated, “Before he was amazing.”

20th Century Fox:
As if in response to the absence of Marvel, the studio franchise that is helming the X-Men and Fantastic Four titles, did their best to step up their game.

They started off their panel talking Fantastic Four, with an appearance by the whole cast, and a debut of a new and extended trailer for the movie, but that was just the appetizer before the main course.

The next person to take the stage got one of the biggest applauses as Ryan Reynolds appeared from the darkness after showing the first look at the new Deadpool trailer. By all accounts and the leaked footage that some naughty person took, the humor, the violence, and the tone is spot on with what we are all hoping for a Deadpool solo movie. Ryan Reynolds showed his obvious passion for the film, and even took a few shots at his former stint in green over at DC. He was joined by the rest of the cast who all talked about their experiences on the movie set.

Finally, it was time for the X-Men to come to the stage, starting with the legend, Hugh Jackman, who thanked the fans before confirming that the next Wolverine movie would be his last outing as the character, but it seems like they saved the best for last. The next solo flick for the canucklehead will be Old Man Logan, though it is questionable how that movie will work without actually being set in the MCU, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

He was then joined by the full cast of X-Men: Apocalypse and Bryan Singer. It was revealed that the new movie would take place ten years after that last movie, placing it sometime in the 80’s. Some unfinished footage from the movie was revealed, giving the attendees their first look at the majority of the cast, including a bald McAvoy.

The show ended with the casts of all three movies returning followed by none other than Stan the Man himself leading a bewildered Channing Tatum in a Gambit shirt.

Walking Dead
The Walking Dead Panel gave us a glimpse of the full cast and crew and included a trailer for Season 6 which will debut on October 11. It was also announced that the season premier would be a 90-minute episode, and showed us some of the tensions that would be bubbling up inside the group. The Walking Dead attraction in the main hall and the panel both hinted at a new threat looming over Rick and the Gang, known as The Wolves.

The panel also debuted a first look at the new Fear the Walking Dead, which will portray the zombie event starting mere days after the outbreak. It takes place in LA and seems to have a much smaller perspective. The main characters are normal people, not gun toting sheriffs or samurai warriors, like those found on the original show.  Even the zombies will be less gory, as they are only freshly dead, and the camera style looks a bit fuzzy and shaky. It seems as if this new series is really trying to strike out from under the shadow of its older sister.


Lego:
The toy giant made a few splashes of its own at SDCC. They practically plastered the town with advertisements and attractions from their newest enterprise, Lego Dimensions, and revealed that Doctor Who, would be joined the LD universe. In true Lego fashion you will be able to play as any of the twelve doctors, and when you die you be able to regenerate into another Doctor. Peter Capaldi will also be voicing the Twelfth Doctor, and Jenna Louise Coleman will also be lending her voice talents to the game.

The company also announced a plethora of new playable characters for Lego Marvel’s Avengers, including Sam Wilson’s Captain America. Stan Lee will even be playable with a character called Iron Stan.

Warcraft
Legendary Pictures went balls to the wall with their Warcraft attraction on the show floor. Weta Workshop trotted out an insane amount of armor and orcs from the upcoming Warcraft movie and even gave people a chance to wield some weapons in a photo-shoot with a life-sized orc warrior. The panel also revealed new artwork, and it looks pretty sweet.

Lothar_Warcraft_11x17_rgb_sml Durotan_Warcraft_11x178_rgb_sml

We have to admit we haven’t really been feeling the hype for this movie, despite us all being unadulterated Blizzard fans, but the booth was fairly impressive and there is something awe inspiring about seeing full-sized Alliance warriors in their familiar armor.

Doctor Who:
Peter Capaldi and the entire cast were on hand to debut scenes from the Series 9 of Doctor Who which will start in September. We got a look at the new dynamic that will be taking place between the Doctor and Clara, as well as return of the Zygons. Yet, even more exciting the preview showed Maisie “stick’em with the pointy end” Williams.

Star Wars:
The only panel that gave DC a run for its money, the Star Wars panel gave fans a new look into a galaxy far far away.

Most importantly the cast was on stage, and we are talking Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamil, and Harrison “Don’t get cocky kid,” Ford. JJ Abrams made a big promise to fans that this latest outing in our favorite galaxy was all about “respect.” He also promised that there would not be a new trailer out until the Fall. However, to make up for it he did give everyone a behind the scenes look, which gave us some new tidbits of information. Sufficed to say it was a crowd pleaser.

It was revealed that the new enemy, The New Order, is using the Empire’s old TIE Fighters, except with a fresh paint job. Maybe they are low on credits and have to cut corners wherever they can. I guess we will find out more in September. Lastly, a surprisingly familiar face popped up in the form of Simon Pegg who will have a cameo in the new Star Wars movie, even if you won’t be able to see his face behind his giant alien costume. Only our favorite geek from across the pond would be this amped about a part where we will never even know it is him. As for the rest we will just have to wait and see what more details are revealed in the coming months.


DC
Finally, the DC panel was the breath that everyone was waiting to exhale, and surprisingly it was pretty basic. We are not saying that there was not a ton of cool stuff, but there was also no surprises. There was no Jared Leto in full joker attire or even cameos by the entire line-up of the Justice League. For a convention where everyone expected DC to wow the crowd with a show stopping extravaganza, it seems like DC was content just hit the single and score the winning run in modest fashion, instead of going for the grand slam that everyone expected.

With that said the new DC Cinematic Universe, if that is what we are calling it now, seems to be chugging ahead at full steam. The SDCC main hall was packed with a giant display case showing of the Superman, Batman, Armored Batman, and Wonder Woman costumes from Batman V Superman. It looks as if we are going to get the most realistic Batsuit yet to appear on screen, which is a definite plus. There was also a ton of smaller things to see too including bat gadgets galore and Wonder Woman’s lasso.

The panel itself opened up with some movies including Pan and the Man from UNCLE, but that was not what people came to see. It wasn’t until the full cast of the Suicide Squad, including a bald Will Smith, took the stage that the audience got their first look at clips from the movie, and things really heated up. From all accounts the movie has a definite gritty and dark tone to it, and the clips ended with a full look at Leto’s joker electrocuting someone. David Ayer promised it would be about “bad vs. evil,” and the crowd went wild.

Next up was Batman V Superman, and we got to see a lot new, and sometimes disjointed, footage. We saw Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, including a scene that shows that Bruce Wayne was in Metropolis during the time of the Zod incident. We also saw a long haired Lex Luthor, a dead Zod, and confirmation that Metropolis and Gotham City are sister cities. The Joker also appears as if he will play at least a small part in the movie, and there was a weird scene of Batman fighting armored guards in the desert who are wearing Superman patches on their arm.

All and all it seemed kind of hard to understand how all the scenes really fit into the same movie. The full cast and crew came on stage, and all seemed genuinely excited about the script and the story. So that should be a plus.

It was confirmed that the Green Lantern movie would be about the Green Lantern Corps. instead of being a piece centered around just Hal Jordan or Jon Stewart. I suppose DC learned its lesson on risking a sole Green Lantern movie. It was also confirmed that the stand alone Wonder Woman movie would be a time piece set in World War II. Personally speaking, we here at the NYRD are super psyched by that take on the Amazonian warrior. It is the perfect time piece to put her into and a good way to spice up the DCCU with some history and back story.

On the comic front, DC seems to be pushing ahead with new Earth One titles, including new Flash, Superman, and Aquaman titles.

On the DCTV side of things a detailed panel included guests from Arrow, Flash, and the new Legends of Tomorrow. Each debuted new ideas, new villains, and new heroes. Oliver Queen will also be getting a new suit. The panel even showed a promo for the new animated series, Vixen.

The cast of Gotham was next to the stage and they talked about their next season including their plan for more about the origins of the Joker. It’s hard for us at The NYRD to really see the sense in that, as revealing the Joker’s origins tends to ruin the mystique of the character, but Gotham has been a quality show up to this point so we will give them the benefit of the doubt.

The real show stopper was the full preview of the pilot for Supergirl, that seemed to really please anyone in the crowd that was willing to stay late enough in Hall H to catch the hour long debut. By accounts, most people walked away satisfied by what they saw of the super-heroine. Many said that the show seems to have the feel of the Richard Donner Superman movie. Let’s hope that is a recipe for success.


Final Reactions:
This year’s San Diego Comic Con was certainly a good time. However, we must admit there were no real shockers to be seen. Everything that was premiered and debuted was basically on par with what we expected.

Maybe that says more about the culture of Internet rumors and leaks than it does about any of the convention presenters, but compared to other years we really don’t feel as if we found out anything new about the properties we love and love talking about. With that said, there was plenty of cool footage and awesome geek news to digest. This year was certainly a success by any standards and we personally cannot wait till October.

NYCC is just around the corner. We hope to see you all there.


Warcraft photo credits: http://www.warcraftmovie.com/