GEEK MADNESS: Do’Urden Region, Week 1

Let the games begin! Our first sixteen competitors jump into the fray for the inaugural round of the Battle for Secretary of Geek Affairs. Voting for Round 1 of the Do’Urden Regon is now open, and will close on Sunday, D

ec. 21st at 7 pm (a completely arbitrary stop time, as is our wont), at which point the next round (Bombadil Region, Round 1) will begin.

Read about all the matchups and go vote, after the break. And tell your friends!

Do'Urden Region Round 1
click for larger image


Linus Torvalds Linus Torvalds vs. Mr. Peabody Mr Peabody

Linus Torvalds: Founder of the Linux kernel; notable standard-bearer of the Open Source revolution.
Extra points for coming from off the beaten path (Finland); married a Finnish national karate champion.

Mr. Peabody: Time-traveling talking dog featured in “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show“; genius.
Time machine could be useful for policy implementation; might face Congressional scrutiny during confirmation hearings over possible NAMBLA associations.

[poll id=23]


Simon PeggSimon Pegg vs. Peter Parker Peter Parker

Simon Pegg: Actor/writer; co-creator/star, “Spaced“, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz.
Portraying “Scotty” in upcoming Star Trek reboot; staunch opponent of Star Wars prequel trilogy; no danger of influence from powerful zombie special interest groups.

Peter Parker: Real identity of superhero Spider-Man; amateur scientist and freelance photographer.
Wise-cracking nature and proclivity for violence may undermine policy implementation efforts.

[poll id=24]


Paul AllenPaul Allen vs. Patton Oswalt Patton Oswalt

Paul Allen: Co-founder, Microsoft; all-around geek entrepreneur.
Notes: Leading promoter and funder of tech through his cash-strewing venture, Vulcan Inc., as well as numerous charitable projects; is in part responsible for architectural monstrosity The Experience Music Project.

Patton Oswalt Comedian, actor; voice of “Remy” in Ratatouille; noted comic book and Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast.
Highly respected in comedy circles as “comedian’s comedian;” articulate, fervent, and unafraid to voice his opinion; diminutive, troll-like stature; will not rest until George Lucas is made to pay for Star Wars prequels.

[poll id=25]


Kevin SmithKevin Smith vs. Randall Munroe Randall Munroe

Kevin Smith: Film director/writer (including Clerks, Chasing Amy, Zack and Miri Make a Porno); guest writer for Marvel Comics (Daredevil, Spider-Man) and DC Comics (Green Arrow) .
Noted for his on-screen appearances as “Silent Bob;” characters honestly portray geekdom at its best (and worst), and his dialogue is in common use as a short-hand second language; unfortunately, is from New Jersey; also, Jersey Girl.

Randall Munroe: Creator of webcomic xkcd.
Has graduate degree in physics; captures the nuances of geek life by investing his rudimentary stick figures with keen and often poignant observations; occasional stick figure sex.

[poll id=26]


Kaylee FryeKaylee Frye vs. The Professor The Professor

Kaylee Frye: Character, Joss Whedon’s TV series “Firefly” and film Serenity; ship’s mechanic.
Notes: Prototypical geek girl who has a great love of and intuitive talent with technology; feminine without being entirely “girly;” only partially aware of how stupefyingly attractive she is.

The Professor: Character from TV show “Gilligan’s Island. Complete name is Roy Hinkley (Martin), B.A., B.S., M.A., Ph.D.
Notes: A resourceful voice of reason in difficult situations; met the Harlem Globetrotters.

[poll id=27]


Tricia "Trillian" McMillan Tricia “Trillian” McMillan vs. Rick Moranis Rick Moranis

Tricia “Trillian” McMillan: Character in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series; brilliant astrophysicist and mathematician; one of two remaining living Earthlings.
Notes: Keeps company with Zaphod Beeblebroz; eventually ends up with hapless, well-intentioned Arthur Dent, giving hope to similarly hapless, well-intentioned geeks worldwide.

Rick Moranis: Actor/comedian/writer, “SCTV“, Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, Little Shop of Horrors; known for his portrayals of nerd/geek characters; Canadian.
Notes: Smart, incisive satirist with extreme likability; was in Strange Brew. However, was also in The Flintstones.

[poll id=28]


RMS RMS vs. Gadget Gadget

RMS (Richard Matthew Stallman): Founder of the free software GNU project; software and political activist; hacker extraordinaire.
Notes: Extremely strong tech geek credentials; could be difficult keeping him “on message.”

Gadget: Mechanically-inclined mouse from Disney’s “Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers” cartoon series. Full name: Gadget Hackwrench.
Notes: Although quick-witted and resourceful, her solutions often do as much harm as good.

[poll id=29]


Steve JobsSteve Jobs vs. Cast of Revenge of the Nerds Revenge of the Nerds

Steve Jobs: Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Apple Computer; former CEO, Pixar Animation Studios.
Notes: Fearless competitor, constantly leading market in technology and design innovation; don’t know what he was thinking with the whole NeXT thing; allegedly kind of a dick in person.

Cast of Revenge of the Nerds Film protagonists who form a college fraternity in order to thrive in an environment hostile to their kind.
Notes: Plucky, never-give-up attitude; strongly value and embrace diversity; known for clever, science-based solutions to difficult obstacles; will come stage tonight to do a show for you; several of them totally get to do it with chicks; potential hygiene issues.

[poll id=30]


  1. Posted December 15, 2008 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    Did you have to use the Trillian from the TV series? She was kind of a ditz on TV, not the real Trillian at all!

  2. Conor
    Posted December 15, 2008 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    I don’t want to vote for *anyone* in 6 or 7.

    Steve Wozniak over Steve Jobs.

  3. Jack F
    Posted December 15, 2008 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I somehow managed to vote for the current points loser in every match-up! What are you people thinking?? (The fact that I’m older than the usual P&S demographic probably has something to do with it.)

  4. Posted December 15, 2008 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I’d never heard of anyone in #5, but for the others it was easy, in most cases I voted for the one I’d heard of, or in case of conflict, the one that didn’t found Microsoft and doesn’t have multiple namesakes that confuse me (take that, Kevin Smith… a few of you might have died but I get the feeling there are still several of you alive, and anyway I don’t know if I want to risk electing a zombie as secretary of geek affairs. He’d probably die of malnourishment from the brains in Congress anyway.)

    And yeah, definitely Steve Wozniak over Steve Jobs. Woz rocks, and is not at all a dick in person. But Steve Jobs still wins over the cast of some show I’ve never seen, per previously stated voting methodology.

  5. Posted December 15, 2008 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Wait a minute, did I say a zombie would die of malnourishment?

    I mean… uh… come to life of malnourishment. Yeah.

  6. Posted December 15, 2008 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    A vote against Kaylee = UR DOING IT WRONG

  7. Posted December 15, 2008 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Well, since this is a NCAA-style bracket, you’re going to have some really crappy teams stuck in the middle. The winners of the crap games will get knocked out in round 2.

  8. Posted December 15, 2008 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    42 Furry votes for Gadget, I see…

  9. Posted December 15, 2008 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Mostly, my vote for Gadget was a vote against Stallman. He’s a horrible human being. Plus, not a hot mouse.

  10. Posted December 15, 2008 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I think I had the most problems voting in match #4. I really like them both. In the end, it came down to hard-core geekiness versus geeky “rudeness”. I have issues with the “potty language” in most of Kevin Smith’s movies, related to my conservative upbringing. That being said, “Dogma” is one of my all-time favorites (irony, much?). Again, hard decision. In the end, it was the stick figures that won me over. Some good pairings here!

  11. Posted December 15, 2008 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    @Dan Coulter, I will have to respectfully disagree with you.

  12. Posted December 15, 2008 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    You think of Stallman as a hot mouse? Weird.

  13. Jared O
    Posted December 15, 2008 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Not sure if this is the place for anti-campaigning or if anyone will even read these before voting but…Rick Moranis has refused to take part in either the Ghostbusters video game or Ghostbusters 3 because he doesn’t need the money. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound like someone I would like to have represent geeks of the US, a Canadian, who cares not for the fans of his work, only that he has enough money. [Not that I really don’t like him, just don’t like the slight insult.]

  14. CaptainSpam
    Posted December 15, 2008 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    1. As much as Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine could help the country, he’s a bit a smug bastard in person. Linus for the win.

    2. Simon would be an ideal sub-secretary under JoCo in the event JoCo’s army of office zombies (Re Your Brains) got unruly. I don’t think Peter Parker has ever dealt with zombies.

    3. Random pick, not as familiar with the two.

    4. While Smith does understand the value of knowing when not to open his mouth, Monroe can motivate a country to visit near-random geographic coordinates (Geohashing), and we need that sort of motivation in this day and age.

    5. I hate to vote entirely on hotness, but let’s be honest, The Professor is far too easily undermined by even the slightest incompetence under his command. Kaylee takes it.

    6. Tough call. Trillian is highly resourceful and has had plenty of experience in extraterrestrial relations, making her an ideal ambassador to such, though Rick Moranis does have a fundamental understanding of the undead population, much like Simon Pegg. I’m giving this one to Rick.

    7. As much as I respect RMS’s work in his field and all he’s brought to the open-source community, there is no chance in hell I want him anywhere near a presidential secretary position.

    8. See answer for number 7, replacing “RMS” with “Steve Jobs” and “the open-source community” with “GUI design”.

  15. Posted December 15, 2008 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    @Jared O, to me it sounds good that somebody recognises he has enough money and doesn’t relentlessly try to get more of the stuff just for the sake of it. But I wouldn’t vote for him, because I’m pretty much actor-blind, I don’t notice who plays which characters in movies or which famous name goes with which disturbingly-familiar new faces, so I have no idea why this random famous actor’s name should come up in an election of secretary of geek affairs. And besides, he’s up against Trillian.

  16. Colleenky
    Posted December 15, 2008 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    It should be noted that Paul Allen also co-founded the awesome Science Fiction Museum in Seattle. 😀

  17. Jade
    Posted December 15, 2008 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    How can Rick Moranis NOT be winning? I loves that guy.

  18. Lance
    Posted December 16, 2008 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    The thing about Rick Moranis is that, sure, he looks like your uncle Moishe the accountant, but does he have actual geek cred? Playing geeks, yes, but Trillian is an *actual* geek (albeit, yes, fictional). And is there a program for internet chatting named “Moranis”? Certainly not.

    On the other hand, pitting Smith against Munroe this early is such a shame. I’ve seen Clerks; Smith has some genuine geek background. But I’ve also seen “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”, and I’m still waiting for him to send me my money back (and I saw it on cable). Whereas Munroe has already given the position some thought. Alas, Kevin. If only you’d been up against a lightweight like The Professor in Round 1.

  19. Mike From Woodstock
    Posted December 16, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    1. Torvalds.
    2. I voted for Parker in this one, because Pegg isn’t really a geek. He’s more of a dweeb, I think. Parker himself is more of a nerd, but that’s closer to geek than a dweeb is.
    3. Allen is more nerdy, but Oswalt is the fanboy of the two, thus the bigger geek.
    4. Kevin Smith is, to my eyes, the obvious winner here, as Munroe just does a webcomic. Smith grew up a geek, and it’s still a huge part of his life. Heard him talk about the Watchmen movie? Yeah.
    5. Kaylee Frye. Although neither one is entirely geeky.
    6. Trillian. Rick Moranis is just a dork.
    7. Gadget isn’t a geek, whereas the guy who WROTE SOFTWARE is. I’d like to see RMS go up against Torvalds. That would be a barnburner.
    8. Steve Jobs. It’s in the name: Revenge of the Nerds? They aren’t geeks. They’re nerds. Big difference.

    -Mike Cuellar
    -Self-Demoting Half Minion
    -Order of the Inner Sanctum Guard

  20. Michael Wiczer
    Posted December 16, 2008 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Mike from Woodstock: Is it fair to say that you consider geek-dom to be exclusively tied to computer savvy? I’m interested in your use of words such as dweeb, nerd, and dork, and how dinstinct those words are to geek. I once tried to distinguish and gave up pretty quickly.
    It seems pretty limiting to me to consider only pure geekery in both this bracket and regarding the potential influence of the cabinet position. Consider, for instance, whether or not a Steve Jobs would have any interest in pushing executive orders against George Lucas. Anyway, I’m curious about having a discussion of geek vs. cousin labels.

    I will challenge this about your votes, though: when it comes to entertainers, it seems like you value personal or implicit geekiness over explicit geekiness expressed in someone’s work. Thus, you chose Smith over Munroe, Oswalt over Allen, and vote against Pegg.
    Pegg is a bit too big of a movie star these days to have any really good interviews where he might geek out, IMO, but I think he absolutely expresses his fandom in Spaced, and, to a lesser extent Shawn of the Dean and Hot Fuzz. That said, I do have an interview that includes a bit about geekery (and Marxism seen through Star Wars): . I definitely don’t see him as a dweeb, but I’m curious why you think he is.

    This talk of Pegg has me thinking of making a bold statement I may or may not be able to defend: Spaced is the best representative of geekery in TV outside of the Sci-fi/fantasy genre. I’m curious if anyone has any other nominations for geeky TV not in sci-fi/fantansy. Oh, geez that show sure was neato-keen!

    Oh, and my votes: 1. Torvalds, 2. Pegg, 3. Oswalt, 4. Munroe, 5. Frye, 6. Trillian, 7. RMS, 8. RotN

    -Michael Wiczer

    P.S. Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich for SOGA 2012! (

  21. Michael Wiczer
    Posted December 16, 2008 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Correction: Shaun of the Dead is not traditionally spelled Shawn of the Dean

  22. Mike From Woodstock
    Posted December 16, 2008 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    A geek is, to my mind, someone who spends more time with his nose in a book than out in the world. He knows a little bit about everything, but mostly focuses on things like science fiction, and fantasy and the ilk. Someone über-conversant on Star Trek, and the minutiae of each episode, for example.

    A nerd, to my mind, is someone whose sole interest lies in the mathematical fields. Present a nerd with a complex mathematical equation with a deliberate mistake in it, and he’ll find it in less than ten minutes, regardless of how complicated the equation is.

    A dweeb is someone who’s just out of place. Never quite fits in, always a little bit behind the times and fashion, kinda dowdy.

    A dork is a healthy mix of all three, but not to the extent that one or another on it’s own is.

    That’s all just my opinion, though, and you’re welcome to prove or disprove any of it. I consider myself a geek, as I’m fairly well read, would rather be inside with a book than out in the world, and read a lot of fantasy. I’m also über-conversant on Star Wars.

    I chose Smith over Munroe because Smith talks comics and comic movies like no one else. The man still geeks out over comic book movies, and he’s almost 40 years old. Munroe, while having a degree in physics fits, to my mind, more in the nerd category.

    Oswalt over Allan, I will admit was simply a personal choice because I don’t really know either one. I did love Ratatouille, and that’s a fantasy, so he gets my vote by association. I probably should have chosen Allan, because of the whole co-founding Microsoft thing, but I’m not sure that’s a geek. Maybe it is.

    And it wasn’t a vote against Pegg as it was a vote for Peter Parker. Though, again, that was, in retrospect, probably a mistake. Parker is a nerd, definitely, and I dropped the ball on that one.

    So, there you go. Hope that helps.


  23. Posted December 17, 2008 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    I’m calling for Linus Torvalds and RMS to make it to the Reasonable 8!
    The battle to end all battles!


  24. Posted December 17, 2008 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    At time of writing, the matchup with the clearest leader is #5. Whedon fanboy squad, go!

    My votes:
    #1 – Torvalds vs Peabody
    Torvalds. Myself being unamerican, I picked the name I recognised. Also, Finnish people are, by definition, cool. (sorry)
    Current standings: Torvalds 61%, Peabody 39%

    #2 – Pegg vs Parker
    Pegg. Both because I very much enjoyed Spaced and SotD, and because Parker would be too busy going out and saving the world from supervillains to do much in the position.
    Current standings: Pegg 67%, Parker 33%

    #3 – Allen vs Oswalt
    Allen. Sorry Oswalt, but being in Ratatouille doesn’t qualify you for the position. If that’s your biggest “geek” accomplishment, then I have to vote against you.
    Current standings: Oswalt 64%, Allen 36% (anti-MS fanboys swinging this vote?)

    #4 – Smith vs Munroe
    Munroe. This was a really tough decision, but in the end I think Jersey Girl marked Smith down for me. Call it superficial maybe. On a more reasonable note, Munroe doesn’t divide the populace into love/hate camps like Smith does.
    Current standings: Munroe 58%, Smith 42%

    #5 – Frye vs Professor
    Professor. A vote for the Professor is a vote against Whedon, and I’m all for anything against Whedon.
    Current standings: Frye 80%, Professor 20% (as noted above, Whedon Fanboy Squad go!)

    #6 – Trillian vs Moranis
    Moranis. Not a tough one for me, because I just can’t get into H2G2, so I have no idea about Trillian. Re Lance: no, there is no absolutely crap chat program named “Moranis”, which turns into plus points for him. 😛
    Current standings: Trillian 53%, Moranis 47%

    #7 – Stallman vs Gadget
    Stallman. I actually have no idea who he is (let the lynching begin!), but I don’t really want to see the mouse get through. Just a personal opinion really on that one.
    Current standings: Stallman 59%, Gadget 41%

    #8 – Jobs vs Nerds
    Nerds. Jobs did give the world the iPhone, so points for that. And he headed Pixar, so points for that. But he also gave the world the annoyance of one-button mouses, option keys, completely separate and incompatible standards among all software, both local and web, and most importantly he split the community into two – PC fans vs Apple fans. Meanwhile, everyone backs the nerds!
    Current standings: Jobs 60%, Nerds 40%

    Kinda glad I didn’t vote for the leader on all of them.

  25. Posted December 17, 2008 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Don’t see how Kevin Smith could be losing. Apparently, the extra passion in my voting still only counts as one vote.
    Also, whenever I was unsure, I went by their stance on the Star Wars prequels.

  26. Posted December 17, 2008 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Now that I think about it, anyone who can die a couple of times and still be making movies probably deserves my vote, even if it’s only out of fear. Though I still don’t get what actors have to do with geekdom.

  27. Michael Wiczer
    Posted December 18, 2008 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    @Mike from Woodstock thanks for those definitions. I actually like them. My one problem is that regarding the pool of Sec. of Geek Affairs candidates, the distinction between geek and nerd seems somewhat harmful. My fear is that many of the non-fiction candidates who actually have a resume of contributions to geek-dom (i.e. Paul Allen, RMS, Vint Cerf, etc) fall under the category of nerds themselves. I think it’s pretty well understood that lots of geniuses in history were extremely one-track-minded, and thus nerds.

    Also, I definitely don’t think there’s anything wrong with making choices based on personal feelings. Geek-dom, after all, is based on having emotional attachments to rationally-based things.

  28. Posted December 18, 2008 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Lex: I think you need to listen to some of Oswalt’s stand up comedy to get why he’s winning his bracket. His stand up comedy is filled with geek references. He has an entire bit about going back in time to hit George Lucas over the head with a shovel in order to prevent the prequel trilogy. In short, he’s very geeky. Geekier than a founder of Microsoft? Well. . . . probably not, but I voted for him because I think he’s a better representative in general.

    As for Ivan and the other Smith lovers, I can tell you that the reason I voted Munroe over Smith is because Munroe is both a geek and has a much higher ratio of good work vs. bad work than Smith. Smith’s work is definitely geeky, but it’s also terribly uneven and often poorly executed. Smith makes movies featuring character who have conversations much like some of the ones I had back when I was younger. But that’s the thing — by those standards, I should be in this competition. Munroe writes stuff that I WISH I had said, because they’re funny, insightful and terribly, terribly geeky.

    Also, I’m sad the Revenge of the Nerds crew is losing out to Steve Jobs. I don’t think Jobs is really a geek. He’s a genius at marketing and has a great sense of aesthetics, but he’s not a geek. Wozniak was the geek/engineer of that pair. Just as Gates is the geek in the Gates/Ballmer pair (Ballmer would be the apeshit insane part of the pair). I don’t think geekiness and arrogance go well together.

  29. Michael Wiczer
    Posted December 18, 2008 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    I agree with everything Mr. Strickland has written (though I would put 3 “.”s in my ellipsis). I want to add a couple Patton Oswalt interviews where he really geeks out and it’s GREAT. Oswalt and Brad Bird on Fresh Air w/Terry Gross. He’s been on that show a few times, and it’s always entertaining, but this is my favorite (and it’s short). I posted this in another comment on this site when someone questioned Oswalt’s geekiness. I figure there’s no harm in a little redundancy.

  30. Ann
    Posted December 18, 2008 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Waaaait a sec: Kevin Smith’s notes are “unfortunately, is from New Jersey”? Yeah Jersey Girl sucked, but I didn’t realize we were playing dirty here in the Geek Madness Tourney. As someone who ate lunch across the street from Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash every day in high school, all I gots say is: bring it, Philly boy, you’re going doooown…

    And now, off to vote.

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