Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nerdfighters, Unite!

Me, Chloe the Nerdfighter

Meet the Nerdfighters

This year, when asked the momentous question, “What do you want for Christmas?” I asked not for a fancy new gadget, nor a car, but for an experience. Namely, the nearest Tour de Nerdfighting event.


Rewind to 2006 when brothers John Green (awesome author of Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson) and Hank Green, an environmental blogger, decided to stop all forms of textual communication. Instead, they’d interact only through video blogs -- excluding phone calls and in-person meetings -- on a YouTube channel they called vlogbrothers. Since then, their videos have racked up more than 193 million views and 637,000 subscribers.

But what’s most important is the community that sprang up around their videos: the Nerdfighters. Now, Nerdfighters do not fight nerds. We are nerds who fight for nerds.

Over the years John, Hank, and the Nerdfighters have done numerous awesome things, such as the annual Project for Awesome, which raised more than $71,000 for charities last year alone. We’ve got inside jokes aplenty, our own gang sign, and we’re always reminding each other to never forget to be awesome.

John Green
Tour de Nerdfighting 2012 consisted of a 16-stop cross-country journey from Boston to Vancouver. It was, first and foremost, a book tour for John’s new novel, The Fault in Our Stars, as well as a tour for the Nerdfighters. And I knew that I must go. Thankfully, my mom is one of the best moms ever! She agreed to drive me five hours to Decatur, Georgia for my Christmas present -- one of the best experiences of my life.

On Jan. 15, we made the journey. I, being paranoid, felt I needed to arrive as early as possible to avoid a 20-foot long line by noon. Thankfully, when I arrived, there were only about eight other girls waiting. My anxiety vanished, leaving behind a giant squid of excitement.

Plus, there is something to be said for spending time with strangers that you share an immense amount in common. Highlights included:

• Peering through the windows or turning our heads every time anyone went through the doors. (We did indeed spy John and Hank briefly and proceeded to scream and then run away.)

• Everyone screaming. (There was an abundance of screaming.)

• A successful wave started by two of my fellow “we got here 4+ hours before the show” Nerdfighters.

At last, the doors opened, and we flooded into the auditorium. I had quite an excellent view of the stage from my second-row seat. The show itself was everything I could ever want and more.

Hank Green
Hank began with a great introduction from Hank Sock (a sock-puppet made in his likeness.) John then read Chapter Two of The Fault in Our Stars or TFiOS, as it is known by its acronym. He talked about his time as a student chaplain at a hospital and his process of writing TFiOS.

Hank took the stage and performed some of his songs, including a new one written about TFiOS titled Video Game Books and a favorite, Shake-a-Booty, which was by far the most fun because almost everyone -- myself included -- got up and danced along.

Hank then played his guitar and John led us in the Da-da-DA!ing that was, in my opinion, the best part of the evening. When everyone, held together by so many common interests -- from the Nerdfighter shirts we wore and the books we loved and the two guys who brought us all together that night -- we sang at the top of ur lungs, Da-da-DA!

Next up: the signing line. Each person could get three items signed, which was quite a bummer for me as I had brought all my copies of John’s books (eight in total) and four of Hank’s CDs hoping to get them signed. I had to settle for getting my two copies of TFiOS signed (one for Andria Amaral, a great CCPL librarian) along with my copy of Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

Then, it was time to meet them!

I was rather flustered, which was not helped by how quickly it went. However, it was still incredibly amazing and wonderful. Despite the hurriedness, John was calm as he greeted me and thanked me for coming to the show. Alas, all the impressive and witty things I’d thought to say flew right out of my head, so all I could manage was an excited, "Thanks for everything you do for nerdfighteria it means so much to me thank you!"

Then I was moving along to Hank, who signed/hanklerfished my books and whom I was also so excited to meet that I forgot anything interesting to say other than, "thanks!"

All in all, it was one of the funnest, awesomest, most wonderful things I had even been a part of. Sitting with those people on the steps, watching the show, meeting John and Hank, seeing the TFIOS van -- those were experiences I will never forget. The feeling of being with so many people who share so much of the same interests with you, regardless of where you’re from, was such an awesome feeling!

Thanks for reading,


PS: Check out John’s Thoughts From Places video about the tour, which includes clips from the Decatur show. (At 1:58, I’m in the clip of people dancing. Specifically, I'm the girl in the second row with the yellow shirt and brown hair exhibiting my inability to clap on time.)

Megan, one of the girls I met, made this video about the tour:

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