Tag Archives: Personal

From a Nerd to a Geek and Why It Shouldn’t Matter to Anyone Else

Labels are lame. We get caught up over what label applies to what or who, and end up missing the person, the main point.

I’m not going to sit here and spell out the differences as it applies to everyone, because the internet has been debating the issue of Geek vs Nerd for a long time already.

BUT I spent the long weekend at Arisia, a local SciFi/Fantasy convention and the last panel I went to on Monday was “Letting Your Geek Flag Fly” all about being “out” in the real world as a geek.

I realized that in high school I pretty much was a Nerd. School was top priority and while I had a few after school activities I never did any after school sports. Instead I’d hang out in the library and try to knock off a subject of homework before it closed at 4. (If you had to lug those heavy textbooks home every day, you’d do the same!)

Things started to shift when I was in college and two things happened: I joined Twitter, and discovered Star Trek Voyager on youtube. (Star Trek TNG had been part of my early childhood, but I hadn’t watched Voyager.) I fell head first into the fandom thanks to an online message board, and even tried my hand at writing some fanfiction.

You could say I was hooked, in more ways than one. I decided to get a blog on wordpress and then tumblr as well. It was on Tumblr that I discovered Doctor Who and very quickly became obsessed all over. I met people through twitter and tumblr who share the same interests as me. I was able to “come out” as a geek. And it wasn’t a huge shift in my identity at all, I was just finally embracing what was inside of me all along. The only thing that changed were the posters I put up in my dorm room every September.

Geek is mainstream now. Huffington Post reports on Doctor Who. The Nerdist has a TV show on BBC America.  Fantasy football unites the jocks and the numbers geeks.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons why the label itself doesn’t matter as much anymore – because so many other people are a geek in some shape or form. Social Media has connected us in more ways than we could fathom and everyone’s geek is showing.

What do you think?

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Blogger’s Block

I have so many unfinished drafts it’s not even funny anymore. I keep starting posts and then either outright ignoring them, or forgetting about them. And then when I rediscover them, I ask myself should I even bother posting this? It’s not even timely anymore. 

I keep meaning to fall into a more regular posting schedule. But it’s like I really don’t have anything to say. Well that’s not true, I have things to say, but not enough to actually finish a post and hit publish.

Who am I blogging for? Myself or others? Do I care enough about this blog right now to maintain it? Probably not. But there’s a tiny voice nagging me to keep this space updated, because it’s literally my best foot forward on the internet. There’s a reason why this and my twitter are linked and I put mastery of both wordpress and twitter on my resume. I want to be a professional writer. I really should have a professional looking blog on the internet.  Now that I have a salary, I should look into buying a domain to host this so I can put it on my resume and stuff.

So yeah that’s what has been going through my head the last couple weeks every time I come onto wordpress. It’s mostly a guilty feeling for not having any quality posts lined up.

Maybe I should take a page out of Charlie McDonnell’s book and force myself to post at least once a day for a week and see what happens. Let’s try to resurrect this page.

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Before I turn 26: Bucket List!

I’ve had several goals floating around my head of what I wanted to accomplish/experience by the time I turn 25. I should probably get them down in writing. I’m giving myself a deadline of my 26th birthday which will be November 7th, 2014 (at 7:35 a.m. to be precise) Originally the goal was 25, but considering I’m already 23 and just starting out on my career, I figure an extra year wouldn’t hurt. So either before or on my 26th birthday, I want to…

  • Get back to Germany. Spending five months in Munich nearly two years (already!) ago isn’t enough. I need to go back and really work on the language. Luckily I have family in Frankfurt so I could crash with them for maybe a couple of weeks. But wouldn’t it be nice to stay there longer than a month? I wonder if it’s possible to take a class in German and be able to get another visa like JYM set up for me before. The Germans have a whole program set up for foreign students called DAAD.  The question remains if I can still be counted as a student since Hofstra sent me my degree and whether I would want to dive into being a full time student so soon.
  • Visit Las Vegas during the Star Trek convention. The allure of “sin city” isn’t quite enough to entice me. (Watching 21! is enough of a fix for me) However I am a huge Trekkie, and the convention that comes to the city every August is the biggest (and most expensive) one. Tons of Star Trek stars make the trek out. I have several twitter friends who live on the West Coast and make a yearly pilgrimage to the con. So far I have only lived voraciously through their tweets and con reports/pictures. This August is a huge TNG event as the show is turning 25 in 2012. I think it would be great to see the stars of the show that whenever it came on, I literally danced in front of the TV. (I was born in 88, the show came on air in 87, meaning it was the 6th and the 7th seasons that I remember watching before bed)
  • Get published! I was lucky to get my short story in Font before I graduated. But Font is just on Hofstra’s campus. And unless you were an English major, or your friend was in it, odds are you didn’t pick up a copy. I had set that goal of getting into Font before I left and managed to achieve with a piece I wrote while I was in Germany. I’d like to do something like that again, but find a lit magazine that’s a step up from a college one. If I manage to pull it off, I’ll consider it progress.
  • Finish a novel. I seem to have stalled in my writing on The Luther Paradox. I either need to finish the story or edit and trim down the 50,000 words I have now. I had a lovely conversation with a stranger at Grendels on Saturday (I was on a bar crawl with a friend) who loved the idea that I pitched him, but helped me realize that my approach for my protagonist wasn’t the best way to keep readers engaged in the second part of my novel. I need to make him willing to risk his life to get back home. Right now he doesn’t have anything or anyone waiting for him, so why should he rush home, other than he’s leading the life of someone else? When I started writing this character I pictured him as a time traveling mercenary – available for the highest bidder so to speak. But as I worked through the beginnings of my novel, it turned out he freelanced on the side as he worked for the time travel agency. He’s still plenty jaded and doesn’t have much to tie him down other than his job and his “relationships” (if you could even call them that) with his boss and the tech guy at work. He doesn’t have anyone waiting for him when he finally gets back to his one bedroom apartment for the night. He eats or orders out nearly all the time because he hates cooking for one.
  • Get an apartment. My parents graciously let me back into the house after I graduated. Growing up the joke was “We don’t care what you do as long as you’re out of the house by you’re 25.” Well I wasn’t able to afford an apartment right after school. And the first priority on the financial stability list was student loans. So what’s next on that list? Cellphone, and then apartment rent. I’d love to stay in the Boston area, meaning I’ll have to find people to rent with, because this area is expensive.
  • Get a car/licence. While probably less expensive than paying rent/bills this is a bit harder I think. I did get my learners permit before I turned 23 (barely made that deadline) but have yet to start learning to drive because instead I started working/earning money. I think in the long run that was a better decision because I needed money to pay for said lessons. People are surprised when they find out that I have neither a  car nor a licence at 23. But growing up in the city, right on the T, I didn’t really need one.

There are two honorable mentions for this list. I’m not quite sure either are the direction I want to go but they have a chance of happening within the next couple of years or so.

The first is to get a job in New York City. As a budding writer, I am lucky to live in Boston, where there are plenty of writing/publishing/editing opportunities. But New York City is obviously like Boston on steroids. Plus with the last semester of work I did at RecordSetter, I do have some professional contacts in the city, compared to almost zilch here in Boston. (Obviously I am starting to connect/network through my new job but there was a 7 month drought of professional contacts until I started working). And the four years of going to school at Hofstra are to my advantage because I already know I’d be able to live in New York. It’d just be even more expensive than Boston.

The second is some sort of grad school. I thought up until my junior year that I had it all figured out perfectly. I’d get my Master in Fine Arts in writing, preferably at Emerson so I could live at home. But then the real world invaded (it has a nasty habit of finding you in your ivory tower doesn’t it?) and I realized I still wouldn’t have a practical degree. (Not all Master’s degrees are created equal!) Sure I could teach, and if my writing improved I would probably make some industry contacts through professors and be closer to actually publishing. But as my cousin who does have two books published pointed out – you don’t need  to go to school write a novel. You need to have some basic skills, that I hopefully picked up in workshop classes at Hofstra, and then you need to live your life. The alternative is an education degree in Egnlish, or some sort of Divinity school. I’ve held off on any grad school decision since a) I’m so broke, and b) I clearly can’t decide which path of further education to pursue.

So on my bucket list there are some practical items, as well as some fantastical items. A pretty good mix. The question remain as to whether I can accomplish everything by the arbitrary deadline of 26. I already know I should not beat myself up if I fail to check everything of that list. But it’s nice to know I have a general outline, and had a little fun in thinking of ways to spice it up.

If you have read this far, congratulations and thanks for putting up with me. Maybe you have a bucket list of your own? Tell me about it in the comments!


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My Personal Pros and Cons of Tumblr

Do you remember sitting at the computer doing homework and keeping a tab/page of Facebook open at all times and checking it constantly? How we used to waste a lot of time on that site?

Well I found a replacement and though I know I’ve been absent on this blog, I’ve still been “blogging” over at Tumblr.

I quiet like what I found. I’ve been on the site just under a year and am currently following a mix of Doctor Who and Star Trek related blogs. There also other posts that come across my dashboard which lately have been about politics, either the shenanigans (pizza as a vegetable? really?) or the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon/movement. And I like to think that I’ve made internet friends there as well. Over the summer I met some local Whovians at a meetup I learned about through tumblr.

But I stopped linking it to my official about.me page, which is in my email signature that I’ve been using for job applications. I have my twitter, facebook, linkedin and this blog linked on that page, which is under walshcaitlin just like this blog and twitter is.

At the end of the day, if it weren’t for tumblr, I wouldn’t have found Doctor Who.  I’ve been a Whovian for six months and following this fandom made me finally realize that Star Trek is dead.  Yes there’s another movie coming out sometime, but it’s in the alternate timeline that the 2009 movie created. I don’t see the franchise ever going back to the original timeline that I grew up watching. I’ll still be a Trekkie at heart, even if I’ve moved on to become obsessed with Doctor Who.

If only tumblr wasn’t such a large time-suck, then I’d be happier.

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25 Things You Don’t Know, maybe

Inspired by Dave Ursillo’s  25 Things I’ve never told you, I’ve decided to do a list of my own. So in no particular order.
  • I don’t use profanity. I don’t swear or take God’s name in vain. It’s partly a religious reason, and partly a vocabulary/sophistication thing. I do allow myself  “crap” and “hell” which other people who have similar views don’t use. I also have my own four letter word. I use frak from Battlestar Gallatica. It gets the same point across/expresses the same emotion but it’s not actually a swear. Our words are powerful and we should chose them with more care than the TV writers think we do.
  • I’ve been in therapy for a third of my life. The first time was when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s. I was referred to the GI liaison in the Psych department because I was having trouble adjusting. But I ended up tackling my social problems at school and saw her once a month, or whenever I had a GI appointment as well for two years or so. Then in junior year of high school I went back to see her when my doctors office told me I should go to her instead of getting a new psych referral.  That was when I got diagnosed with Depression. I’ve been on a low dose of an antidepressant since March of 2006 – almost five years. (I’m never home long enough to get off and see my therapist regularly)
  • I believe in the Placebo Effect strongly. I don’t know if the medicine actually works or if I trick my mind into thinking it does, but either way, I feel better the days I take my medicine than the days I forget to take it.
  • I used to want to be an astronaut. This was long ago, when I was in Kindergarten and first grade. The first place for game shows on Nickelodeon was a trip to Space camp, and I really wanted to go. I still want to experience zero-g, but I haven’t wanted to become an astronaut for a long time now.
  • I was deathly afraid of thunderstorms for a long time. It was the noise of the thunder that scared me, not the lightning. It was related to a fear of loud sudden noises. For instance I hated balloons because I was always worrying about the noise they made when they popped.
  • I’m 1/8th German and 1/8th French. My maternal grandmother is half and half. For the longest time I told people that I was French, Dutch, Italian and German besides my dominant Irish. But that isn’t quite true because the Irish on my mom’s side came from Holland and the Germans came from Italy. So any Dutch and Italian relatives are at least 150 years old, if not older. They are so far distant that I don’t count them anymore. I am three quarters Irish, but since my name is Caitlin Walsh and I’m from Charlestown Massachusetts, everyone just assumes I’m a 100%.
  • I worry about my grades too much. This one you might already now. Right now, probably one of the worst things to happen to me would be to get a C+ or below in my last semester of college. It would really mess up my GPA. I obsess about my grades and have for the longest time. Though in senior year of high school I was pulling D’s in calculus. There wasn’t anything I was doing wrong, I just couldn’t show my teacher I knew the material on the tests. So I have gotten bad grades before, I just strive for excellence so I hope it never happens again.
  • I used to be a girl scout. I lasted three years. I joined when there was enough interest for two troops in Charlestown. My mom was my leader. I never got along with everybody in my troop. When I left, my mom did too and our troop disbanded. I think if any of the other girls were still into it (many weren’t) then they joined the other troop. I did one year of brownie and two years of junior scouts. The cookies and camping were the best parts.
  • I understand football. I don’t know how many times I asked my dad what the numbers 2 & 8 etc meant, but eventually I got it. I enjoy watching the game, especially when I am invested in the team, like when  the Patriots play or when it’s the Playoffs. I also like watching Baseball, though it’s hard for me to sit and watch a game because it can move so slow. I”ll generally watch something else and flip to the Red Sox during the commercials.
  • I still don’t know how to drive. Whenever I tell people that they are so surprised. I don’t need a car when I’m in Boston. I just wish I had one whenever I’m on campus. It’s hard to get around without one.
  • I played the clarinet for over 6 years. I started in sixth grade and when I went to BLS I played in their music program. I was a first clarinet in 8th grade band but got lazy and never practiced after ninth grade. So I was a third clarinet for all of high school band. Our band struggled with being top heavy because we had so many flutes and clarinets.
  • I hate the sound of my voice. Hearing myself on the phone or a voicemail, practically any other recording device, is painful for some reason. I also hate whenever my pitch goes higher and I suddenly sound like I’m a kid again.
  • I hate looking young for my age. I know, in ten year’s time I’ll be glad, but that doesn’t help me now when people don’t believe me when I say I’m 22 already.
  • Glee is one of my guilty pleasures. I love the show, but generally tune out during a musical number. Kurt is my favorite character. So when Glee went all anti-bullying this past fall, I loved it. I can’t wait to see what they do with Karofsky’s character (the bully who kissed Kurt and then threatened to kill him).
  • I’ve been on TV. It was for CatholicTV. They film a television mass and ask priests to come into the studio. Whenever it’s my pastor’s turn, he asks some servers to come with him. The most recent time was this January. Here’s a photo I’ve been an Altar Server for almost 14 years. I love what I do.
  • I can’t cook. I hope whoever I marry can. I’m kidding. I do intend to learn how to cook, or practice soon so the next time I live on my own, I can eat better. Seriously, I don’t even know who to boil potatoes as I learned over break. When I was in Germany, I thought I was going to at least make myself scrambled eggs but ended up only making them once in four months. I can fend for myself, but it’s all breakfast and lunch meals. I probably can bake better right now.
  • I want to be a Priest. A Catholic priest, which is kind of awkward to say the least because they don’t let women into the priesthood. Sometimes I’ve caught myself thinking what would they do with a Trans-man, but I have a feeling they wouldn’t let them in either, if they knew about it. Which brings up…
  • I disagree with the Church on a lot of things, yet I still am proud to call myself Catholic.  I realized last semester that anything going on politically or personally gets left at the door whenever I go to Mass. It’s one of the reasons why I love Mass so much.
  • I like girls. I’m more comfortable with the word queer than bisexual or lesbian for some reason. It can make things a little difficult, but who I am and who I like doesn’t change because of the label I give myself.  The only thing that changes is how some people see me.
  • I thought I was a tomboy for the longest time, until I realized I have almost no athletic ability. The closest I got was Ball Hockey, which was floor hockey under a different name, but that was 6-12 year olds. I also did Little League and turned out to be a decent 2nd basemen, but couldn’t hit a ball to save my life.
  • I worry about health insurance. and the future. I guess it comes with the territory of keeping the healthcare industry in business. Under the old system, I would be uninsurable come May 23rd because I have one, maybe two, pre-existing conditions. I would have to find a stable job right away so I could get benefits in six months. And then I would probably have to change my doctors. But since the bill was passed almost a year ago, I technically can stay on my parents insurance even after graduation. I still worry about it though because it’s so unpopular with the republicans and the tea-party people. Sometimes I feel like they say those things because they don’t know anyone in my shoes. Which is entirely possible given their benefits package they get as members of Congress.
  • I bleed Democrat blue. I live in a blue city, in a blue state. I learned the differences between the two parties as Democrats want to help people and Republicans believe the government is just there to keep order. I was seven. So naturally I have a very biased point of view.  But living where I do there’s little incentive to change my point of view. Most of the time I can appreciate or at least politely ignore what the other side is saying, but there are certain issues close to my heart, like LGBTQ stuff and health insurance that get me riled up. (But I’m still Pro-Life… ish It’s complicated!)
  • I’m a good swimmer. When I was younger, I was a fish. I spent most of the summer in the community pool that was across the street. My father taught me to swim the front crawl when I was younger. I’ve never raced or been in a club though, and I can’t swim the other strokes to save my live.  But I enjoy swimming, even if I’ve never done it for exercise.
  • I love winterguard, and drumcorps. I marched in a winterguard during elementary school. I didn’t really get what we were doing then. But I marched for 5 years. When I got diagnosed with Crohn’s, I had to quit. Soon after, the guard disbanded and I was never able to march again. But I find videos of shows on youtube all the time. I really believe that my exposure to the world of winterguard – the music that guards would choose especially – is why my musical tastes are the way they are.
  • I hate most vegetables I think getting diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 11 and being told “no veggies” for a couple years seriously put a hamper on my taste bud development. I would much rather eat fruit to get the healthy stuff. Plus while I’m at Hofstra, I don’t go near any vegetables that Lackman makes because I don’t want to pay for a serving and find it over cooked or under cooked, which happens a lot.

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of  writing that is. This is beyond the revising that goes into a piece, especially for class. There’s a first draft, changes are made and then there’s the second draft. Usually the changes end there. And the drafts are usually pretty similar. If there was any major revising, the essence of the first draft can still be seen/felt in the second draft.

No, this goes beyond that kind of revising. These “drafts” of the same project are so different from one another that they are more like phases. They all have the common theme and subject but that is it.

It all started just over 4 years ago when Continue reading

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Resilience – A Memoir

The idea of writing a memoir popped into my head when I had an appointment with Dr. Bender. (She has known me since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s, because she is the person the GI staff refer kids to if they are having problems adjusting. That’s what happened to me. My mind refused to cope with the idea I had Crohn’s. My mother saw I was having problems adjusting, and I was referred to Dr. Bender. I continued to see her for 2 years, once a month or every 2 months. After I got over the shock of having this diagnosis, we worked a little on my sticky social problems in elementary school.

Then when I came to Latin School, I was finding I didn’t really want to waste a whole day at the doctors on a continuous basis, and she went on maternity leave so I stopped seeing her.

Fast-forward almost five years. It’s the winter of junior year, and I’m beginning to feel myself crumble. I reached out for someone with a pysch degree and ended up just going back to her. I still see her whenever I’m home, even four years later. )

Even though I’m only 21 years old, I know that I have lived, seen, and felt things that could be put into a book and sold.  I guess the biggest question is can they all fit together and tell a story?

Lived: Growing up in Charlestown, I quickly noticed a duality about the neighborhood. There were the stories my father and his family and friends would tell. These stories of an Old Charlestown were told so often and so vividly that if I squinted I could see it. But then when I looked closer I could see the New Charlestown that came in right after I was born. The irony is that I have heard my father say that he would not want to raise his family in the Charlestown he grew up in.

There are other dualities in my life. I really am a child of two worlds (if not more). Spock has nothing on me 😉

Seen: I am a Millennial as I was born in 1988.  I was in seventh grade when 9/11 happened. I really do think I came of age as a result of that. (I wrote a post on it back in September)  I am constantly online, connected somehow through email, twitter, facebook. But I still remember how to disconnect myself for a few hours – it’s harder at school, that’s for sure. I still can get lost in a book.

Felt: There’s a reason why I titled this post Resilience.  There is one thing about me that no one can ever take away. That is my resilience. I like to downplay my Crohn’s and my Depression, because I never really consider myself that sick. But even if I stop taking anti-depressants, and stop seeing somebody, my Crohn’s still remains and it’s listed as a disability under the Americans with Disability Act. I’m blessed with the fact that it has remained pretty mild for the most part. But it is still a disability, and an invisible one. That’s probably sucks the most. I might be having a bad day, but you wouldn’t know it looking at me.

I’ve been through the wringer a couple of times, and have come out swinging. It might have taken me a while, but I can look back at how far I’ve come with pride.


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01.11.00 Crohn’s Essay

I have had Crohn’s Disease for 10 years.

I wrote about it for a college essay. It wasn’t a pity me essay, but rather a look at all I have done essay. I revised it for this occaison:

I’ve always been a happy, go-lucky and energetic kid. For the first ten years of my life, I didn’t see this as anything special. I just was really into living life to the fullest. However, when I was eleven, I got the news that would affect the rest of my life.

Soon after I turned eleven strange things started to happen. I ended up at the doctors in December, and since she knew that Mom’s family had a history of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, she referred me to a Gastroenterologist. Dr. Israel knew something was going on so she ordered two tests and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, the second IBD, with in a month of first going to the doctors. I was lucky.

One of my most vivid memories of the first few days was sitting at the kitchen table absolutely sobbing because I had to swallow pills for the first time. I wasn’t very good at it. Now, ten years later, I’m an old pro and can even take those horsepill vitamins no problem.

Ten years is almost half my life. It’s scary knowing that it has shaped who I am now. I like to think that I am a better person because of Crohn’s though, because having a chronic illness at such a formative age really put things in perspective for me. I became more self-aware at age eleven. I had a new purpose in life. I strived everyday to live my life as if I didn’t have Crohn’s. I became even more energetic and enthusiastic and I threw myself behind my schoolwork even more. I did not look or act like a “sick person” would.

But not looking sick did have it’s drawbacks. No one knew about my Crohn’s unless I told them. In the beginning, it would be extremely awkward for me to explain my disease, so I avoided doing so at all costs. When I first started at Boston Latin School, my seventh grade English teacher, who wasn’t fully informed of my condition, hassled me for going to the bathroom every day. But once she learned more about Crohn’s she realized that she couldn’t control when or how many times a day I went to the bathroom. I’ve come a long way from that awkward and secretive thirteen year old. Now my Crohn’s is nearly in remission, and I’m perfectly fine with telling people about it. In fact I told a whole class that I had Inflammatory Bowel Disease during a presentation where we were supossed to share about ourselves. The class was surprised to see how much I had overcome in my nearly six years at Boston Latin School.

I have even surprised myself at times. But for now I’m just dreaming of the day where I can list my accomplishments, like “I’m a New York Times best-selling author and I have been elected the governor of Massachusetts” and then casually say that I’ve done all this and more with a chronic illness.

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