Lighthearted Nerdery

Amidst the flurry of depressingly divided, emotional articles about IE8 breaking the browser market with version targeting, it was nice to see some altruistic, informative, and just-plain-fun news in my RSS reads this week:

Of course, there was a lot of other great posts, podcasts and articles this week, but in trying to keep away from the M$ bashing and ensuing flame-wars, I found a few good laughs in the recent Photo Basement post: 41 Hilarious Science Fair Experiments. As I scrolled, laughed, pointed, scrolled and laughed again, I couldn’t help but think how similarly nerdy and awkward I was myself at that age and remembered a particular science fair project I did back in my junior high days.

The title of my experiment was What are the odds of extracting a blue M&M from a “Fun Size” bag of M&Ms? I originally wanted to do a project about BBS games, but this was a much hotter topic in 1995 as the blue M&M had just been introduced. Somehow, my piddly, bean counting project won the 1st place prize in the math category; this could be because there were only 3 math experiments that year. It was also very well received by my classmates; mostly because I let them eat the candies they helped me count. And of course it was ground-breaking statistical research! While I never published a paper on my findings, I remember that there were way more brown M&Ms than any other color, and I managed to find this flattering image in an old box of photos.

A few interesting things to note in the photo above.

  • It took longer to staple all those empty bags to my board than it did to plug my numbers into Excel.
  • I designed that masthead for the “School Zone” section of our local newspaper as part of a design competition the previous year.
  • Yes, that’s a genuine Ironman Triathalon watch on my arm there.
  • See the check on the ribbon? I apparently won some money for getting 1st place. I’m not sure, but I probably used that extra moola to buy a hackey sack or some sweet Airwalks.
  • Über. Nerd.

So, there. I’ve shared with you a little glimpse into my childhood. Does anybody else have any embarrassing childhood pictures to post?

10 Comments

  1. LMAO. very nice Jason, very nice.

    I remember those Science Fairs in grade school and the events from cub scouts back in the day… wow..

    The weirdest event was in Cub Scouts. We had to do some sort of “talent” thing for a badge or patch. I chose to lip sync a song. Yeh, how entertaining that was; I guess I was super dorky back than. The kicker. I chose a Mili Vanili song to lip sync…how ironic is that?(this was before they were ousted for that). I have no idea why I remember this… I shouldnt. lol.

    B

  2. Haha, that’s an awesome picture. I had some awful denim jumpsuit that I loved as a kid, and there’s this one picture that is just… wow. It’s not the fashionable atire I thought it was at the time.

    I swear to find it in my parent’s photo collection and burn it.

  3. An entire project based around M&M’s? My respect level for you just changed. As for whether that is a positive or negative adjustment, I’m not quite sure. Either way, that photo is pure 15-year-old awesomeness. You look so serious. LoLz!

  4. I’m pretty sure you didn’t buy shoes with this. You were still saving by the time we went for coffee in 11th grade. Hmm…. maybe you put it toward your VW Beetle.

  5. Whoa? This is 11th grade? I would guessed 5th grade…. wow!

  6. Thanks for the mention, Jason. Hope to see you at SXSW again!

  7. Where’d you get 11th grade, Dustin? This was 8th or maybe 9th…

  8. Hahaha! I really enjoyed that post! You’re so right about the gross amount of posts about IE8.
    Ever thought about a follow-up research about the chances of getting a red whinegum from a package of whinegums? 😉

    P.S. (since it’s the first chance to say it to you) I really enjoyed your Sitepoint book!

  9. Thanks, Chris. Glad to hear you enjoyed the book. I’ve never heard the term whinegum before. I assume you’re talking about the chewy candy?

  10. Ah yes, that’s it. Wine gum is the common name here in the Netherlands, I ate a lot of them but enjoyed the red ones the most! 🙂 Cheers!

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  • @mariafrey Same here. It’s funny because we started an physical calendar w/ the kids this morning and I didn’t think about it until noon. :)
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