So here’s the problem. I like a lot of geeky stuff. Always have. Ever since my dad brought home an Atari ST sometime in the early nineties, or when my little brother and I shared a NES on Christmas Day 1991 – or maybe when I first saw Back to the Future, Short Circuit, DARYL, Flight of the Navigator, Batteries not Included or even the little-known Too Much (a robot movie I’ve only ever seen in a long-defunct video shop in Rochdale), I’ve loved technology. It was computers at first, I think, then video games and robots and science in general.

I’ve always loved nerdy humour, too. Red Dwarf was my favourite sitcom for a long time, and these days I’ll chuckle at a ridiculous bit of ironic leetspeak or even a bloody LOLcat. I know what a LOLcat is. These are all important indicators.

I know who Steve Jobs is. I even watched his recent keynote speech in which iLife ’11 was announced – and watched all ten minutes of the iPhoto ’11 demonstration. I recently bought a 4GB memory stick just so I could install Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat onto my Samsung netbook. I’ve had my Kindle 3 for just over a month now, and it’s one of my favourite things in the world.

So the indicators are all there. I’m a bit of a nerd, right? Well yes – a bit of a nerd.

But not a proper one.

There’s loads of reasons why not. I love (and am “good at”) computers – at least by the standards of most normal people and a lot of my friends too; but I have no idea how they really work. I downloaded Ubuntu, yes, but I’m about ten seconds away from turning my back on it. I’m a bit scared of “code” and “terminals” and words like “sudo” and basically all the things Randall Munroe likes to joke about on XKCD. See? I even like XKCD, but I admit I only understand about 60% of the comics.

Other things that exclude me from the nerd/geek/techie world? Well, I don’t really like comics. I’ve tried – Christ knows I’ve tried – and I even work in the industry that brings graphic novels to the shops. But mostly I can’t be bothered with fantasy, monsters, guns, aliens and the like – and (Watchmen aside) I struggle to see depth in books you can read in half an hour. I don’t like a lot of sci-fi. I don’t like horror. I despise zombie movies. I hate Star Wars.

I love video games – but I mostly play platform games (badly) and football games (pretty well). I can’t be doing with first-person shooters, RPGs (FFVIII circa 97/98 excepted, of course) or survival horrors. Too scaredy, too impatient and too cackhanded, in reverse order. I have no understanding of role-playing games – I’ve never played anything involving a die with more than six sides and I’ve never painted a toy soldier. I tend to walk past Games Workshop with a mixture awe and affected disdain.

You see, I’m not dismissing any of this stuff. I’m just bemoaning the fact that I don’t understand it. I long for appreciation, for obsession, for devotion and to be part of of some supremely uncool subculture. Alas, I am doomed to be an outsider. My more mainstream fans see me as a bit of a nerd. But my nerd friends are so, so much better at it than me.

Hence, then, Nerdmirer. If you’re a proper nerd (and you probably know if you are) I admire you. I envy your understanding of Perl scripts, Linux tweaks and, well, maths. I am utterly in awe of your ability to pwn n00bs and you Steel Legion Assault Corps. I just don’t understand it.

So that’s what this blog is for. It’s partly a tech blog where I can post cool stuff I’ve seen (mostly gadgets I covet) and to review the ones I’ve used or acquired. It’s also a place for me to learn more about Stuff I Want to Understand. I want to learn how computers work – how the internet works. I want to learn more about science, which, while I’ve read a few Richard Dawkins books and could probably have a decent stab at discussing the Second Law of Thermodynamics, I am still woefully undereducated in.

You see, it all started out so promisingly. I was a nerdy little kid, crap at football, loved his (dad’s) PC. I read books about robots and watched Back to the Future over and over again. Then, somehow, probably through being innately shite at maths and science, I end up doing an art degree and winding up working in publishing – and writing occasional articles for a football blog. Something changed.

So Nerdmirer is here for me to admire the nerds of the world, while trying harder to identify with them. If the idea is of interest to you, then cool. If you think you might also be a nerdmirer, get in touch. We can try and work out Ubuntu together.

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