Word vs. iCal: Making Your Own Geek Calendar

Geek Culture

Every year, instead of buying calendars I make my own.  I usually use MS Word (forgive me).  Because I like to fancy myself as being worldly, I look up the holidays of all the religions that I can.  This year I noticed that August was looking a little thin, and so I turned to our old friend, Wikipedia.

Read more in the extended post.

In Wikipedia, every month has its own article complete with background information — and notable events that have taken place during that month in the past.  That’s when I got the idea to do a calendar that notes important moments in Geek-story.  What I wound up with was a Geek Calendar!  A calendar for 2008 which notes important cultural (mostly) and historical moments in the formation of modern Geek Culture.  Admittedly, the slant is more towards comics, as that is my primary Geek-obsession.

Our editor, Ken Denmead, suggested I use iCal.  iCal is good in that it fills in all the dates and structure of a standard calendar, and has a very simple system of inserting new events. I normally use Word with tables.  Word won’t fill in anything for you, but can insert your own pictures, label special months (if there’s a way to do this in iCal, let me know), and so on.  My understanding is that iCal exports to non-Windows systems better than Word, but then both also easily export to PDF (though iCal only does one month at a time).  My attempts to import iCal into Outlook produces a weird error saying that I have a recurring Lunar Event, which is weird because I can’t see how to insert a lunar event.  If someone can illuminate on this, please post a comment.

So I have the PDF version produced by the Word method and the iCal file.  Because some moments in Geek-story are too much for our feeble hu-man calendars to mark the exact day, the following months were specially marked.

February: Science Fiction Month

Amazing Stories #1 was first published in February, 1926 (cover-dated for April).  It was in this publication that the term "scientifiction" was coined, which later evolved into "science-fiction".  No evil evolution-rays were involved in this process.

April: Super-hero Month

Action Comics #1 was first published in April of 1938 (cover-dated for June).  The exact date is not known.  Regardless, this was the beginning of the modern American super-hero.

June: Role-Playing Month

Due to erratic publishing practices, the exact date of publication of the first edition of Dungeons and Dragons is not known.  We do know that its publication was at some point in 1974.  For me, the month when all the serious all-night gaming started was in June, after school let out.  I don’t that was a unique experience.  So dig up the polyhedrons, and celebrate!

July: Apollo Program Month

This month is marked for the successful Apollo 11 mission.  Though I marked the important stages of the mission (launch, lunar landing, return to Earth) the mission itself took place across several days.  This was a project performed by geeks (most of the astronauts had engineering degrees even if they were marines and naval pilots), for the rest of the world.

September: Book Month

Let’s face it, what is probably the most unifying moment for all of us took place in September some years ago.  The kids got together at recess on the first day of school to play some sports game (kick-ball, soft-ball, botchie-ball, whatever) at which point we saw what would become a defining playground experience for us: getting left for last at every single team-pick.  “You take the girl, we’ll take Jake.”  This eventually led to us all spending many recesses sitting on a bench reading.  So let’s set aside this month to those books that showed us fun beyond that which any cheap, inflated rubber ball ever could.

Final Note

If you want to add Lunar Phases, this US Naval web site generates phases of the Moon — to the minute –- up to 2015.  Best thing on the web to help you avoid werewolves.
Download geekcalendar.pdf

Download geek_calendar.ics

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