On the beautiful Mines campus, there is a quiet, subconscious competition. In fact, this competition is so quiet that contestants rarely know that they are in the running for the title. Despite the stealthy nature of the beast, competition is fierce, and occurs on a minute-to-minute basis. Its battlefield involves socks with sandals, entire comic book stores shoved into one back pack, and students that spontaneously burst into flame upon contact with the great outdoors. This week, it was Mr. Tim Weilert, self-professed “word nerd,” Atari master, and vinyl record connoisseur (not to mention his “fascination” with Star Wars) that garnered him the coveted title of: Geek of the Week.
Oredigger: The first and perhaps most telling question, Tim, do you consider yourself a geek?
Tim: I would say yes. Most people probably don’t consider me “geeky,” probably because I do a pretty good job of hiding it.
OD: What are some of those geeky things that people don’t often get to see?
Tim: I have a love of old-school, vintage video games, and I collect and play vinyl records. I have an old Super Nintendo and Atari 600 collections, which is definitively on the geekier end of the spectrum. It’s not WoW, but it is quite geeky.
OD: Which is your favorite?
Tim: Chrono Trigger on Super Nintendo. It’s probably the greatest RPG of all time. It’s a classic, and definitely one of my favorites.
OD: So, of all of the universities out there, why Mines?
Tim: First of all, I didn’t have to pay to apply. They sent me an application. My dad is an engineer, and my older brother is an engineer, and [my brother] came to Mines and graduated with a master’s and a bachelor’s. So, Mines has always been there. I knew that I wanted to be an engineer and so I wanted to go to the best engineering school. Plus the campus, I have to say, is really top notch.
OD: What do you want to be when you graduate?
Tim: Assuming that I graduate. Most people think that I already graduated, so it’s a surprise that I’m still here, I guess. I’ve been looking into the power industry; power plants and things of that nature. Although at this point, I’m open to a lot of things. It just depends on who will give me a job in this economy.
OD: Economy, practicality, and pay rate aside, if you could have any job what would it be?
Tim: Dream job? I’d probably be in a band and tour the countryside. I’d be a poor musician, but I have a big love of music. I actually write a music blog, and on occasion, have written music reviews for the newspaper. I’ve been surrounded by that culture and find it incredibly fascinating, although definitely not well paying… If money wasn’t an issue, I’d go and be a musician. Rock music, I think. Not necessarily the standard stuff, maybe a little more underground, a little more experimental. Something that people will have to be into to appreciate, not a comfortable, ‘I like that’ right away type thing. It would have to be an acquired taste.
OD: What is the geekiest thing you’ve ever seen or overheard at Mines?
Tim: Pretty much anything that happens in the DiggerDen. That seems to be where a lot of geekiness congregates. I once saw a guy that looked exactly like Dwight from The Office; I don’t think he was trying. I’m also friends with many of the people from Robotics Club, and pretty much anything that goes on there is geeky. I think that half of that club has been GOTW at one point or another.
OD: Star Wars or Star Trek?
Tim: Definitely more of a Star Wars kind of guy. I love Star Trek too, especially for their better quality fake science, but I’ve always been a Star Wars kid; growing up and watching the movies. I’ve even submitted several clips to documentaries that have recently been made. One of my clips actually made it into a film called “The People vs. George Lucas.” It was part of another project called “Star Wars
Uncut,” where they cut A New Hope into ten to fifteen second clips and everyone took a clip and remade it. My clip made it into the documentary that became “The People vs. George Lucas.” I do love me some Star Wars.
OD: What do you think about the new Star Wars and Star Trek movies that came out?
Tim: I like the new Star Trek movies. They were pretty good. The new Star Wars movies I could do without. They are truly a blight on the Star Wars franchise. The characters are very flat and very stupid. The old Star Wars movies may have that as well, but they are classics… My biggest problem is Jar Jar Binks. He’s just so loud and obnoxious.
OD: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Tim: I’ve always thought that that it would be cool to fly. Even if I couldn’t be invincible or turn invisible at will. I’ve always thought that to be able to fly and look down at things would give you really cool angles. I’m a photographer as well, so I’m always on the lookout for cool angles. Also, for transportation, flying would be the way to go. Superman style. Wings would be too much like work.
OD: If you could, what would be the one thing that you would change about Mines?
Tim: I’m a word nerd. Which is not a bad thing, but perhaps unusual. I think that it is important for engineers to be able to write and communicate effectively. I think I would really improve the involvement of students on campus in the writing process and making people realize how important it is to communicate effectively. Even with my brief involvement in industry and seeing how the “real world” works. Having a good grasp on writing and good communication skills will take you further than any equation ever will. If you know everything, but it’s all in your head and you can’t communicate it to other people… then it’s just going to stay in your head. I think that it’s a tragedy that we assume that engineers are bad writers. I actually think that engineers should be some of the best writers in the world, instead of needing remedial English.
OD: What is one piece of advice that you would give to students at Mines, both current and new?
Tim: Embrace your geek. Let’s face it, we’re all at Mines: none of us will ever be really “cool,” which is alright. It’s certainly more fun to embrace the geek.