Argot of the Nerdery

Any social group has its own jargon. Argot is the sociologist's word for it, and it refers to specialized language that helps to establish that you are a rightful member of that group. If you can't follow the specialized slang, colloquialisms, and other short-hand expressions of a given group, then you either aren't a member of it or at least not a very involved one.

On my pages, I use a lot of jargon. Some of these terms are part of general nerd argot--they have nearly universal eaning and application amongst nerds everywhere. These should be easier to recognize. Some of my jargon, however, is specific to myself, and represents Argot of the Nerdery. To help avoid confusion, I'll be using this page as a running lexicon of key terms and phrases. At first, this will just be a list of common expressions I use and are likely to come up in the life of this blog. Over time, however, I will try to update with any new terms that arise in the blog proper.

Also, you'll probably note that I try to keep blog cursing to a minimum. Or at least, I self-censor any that would crop up. To that end, a lot of the terms below are substitutions for epithets--some original, some taken from science fiction and other nerd media.

Critical Failure: an exceptional, and almost universally humorous degree of misfortune. Also occasionally inverted with Critical Success. An allusion to role-playing games, in which a sufficiently bad roll of the dice can condemn nearly any action, no matter how skilled. Critical failures are normally painful and moment-defining, and hence hilarious if they don't happen to you. Conversely, critical success is when a particular bout of luck can compensate for sophomoric skill or achieve a ridiculously unexpected degree of favor.

Filmateleven: colloquialism meaning 'more at a later time'. This is a slang expression from the wonderful Seafort Saga, written by the late David Feintuch. The book series is one of my very favorite of science fiction, and since the writer died shortly after the second(or third) printing of the series, it will probably slowly die out. In the interest of keeping it alive in nerd culture, I use the phrase filmateleven.

Frak: expletive substitute for a curse indicating foul, unclean, carnal knowledge. This is the f-bomb of the Battlestar Galactica series(both of them). Paradoxically, this sci-fi cuss was dropped much more casually in the very family-oriented original series than in the gritty, adult-oriented new series.

Gorram: westernized slang for gosh-darn situations. This is from the prematurely canceled Firefly television series and the follow-up movie Serenity.

Ruga [roo-guh]: an anatomical fold or wrinkle, as in the lining of the stomach, the contours of the brain, or the texture of the scrotum. I use this term and it's more-gratifying-to-say pluralization rugae [roo-gee] as an insulting conjunction, as in "rugae-breath," "rugae-tripping tard," and "rugenstein". The last term is a descriptive allusion to a monstrous being composed entirely of rugae material. I leave it to you to infer which specific rugae I am invoking.

Uppie: slang referring to people who live pretentious lives, removed from practicality. This is another slang term from the Seafort Saga. It's used by the transients who live at ground level, directed at the middle and upper classes who live in sky-scrapers and never bother to visit the bottom levels of their own city. It's an accusation of arrogance, superiority, and irrelevance all in two syllables.