[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Friday, 2011-09-16

Speak Out With Your Geek Out

Filed under: Firearms,Gaming,Movies,Technology — bblackmoor @ 20:17
Speak out with your geek out

I have been a geek pretty much from the day I opened my eyes. My mother tells me that I would sit in my playpen and watch Dark Shadows. When I was 10 or 11, and visiting my grandma Roma for a few weeks during the summer, I discovered The Lord Of The Rings at the local library (where I spent most of my afternoons — it was free, and it was air conditioned). I read the second and third books first, because the first book was loaned out at the time. I recall thinking that it was interesting, but really dry.

Shortly thereafter, I discovered vampires and werewolves and witches. (I never thought I was one. I was a geek, not a delusional loser.) Around the same time, two other things happened that confirmed my path toward geekdom: the debut of the Dr. Madblood show on channel 10, and the release of Star Wars. I would stay up late with my mom and wait for the end of The Midnight Special or Saturday Night Live or whatever sports event had preempted regularly scheduled programming that week, when we’d be rewarded with the baseline from “Green Eyed Lady” and the opening credits of Dr. Madblood. And Star Wars… ah, the good old days, before “A New Hope”, before “Episode IV”, before Greedo shot first, before Darth Vader was retconned into Luke’s whiny-ass father and the creator of C-3PO… back when Star Wars was Star Wars… back when Star Wars was good. Between the bad movies shown every Saturday by Dr. Madblood, and my infatuation with Star Wars, the first of my lifelong geeky pursuits was added permanently to my repertoire: movies. I saw Star Wars at the movies over and over (I stopped counting at nine), my parents bought me action figures, and I carried the novelization (George Lucas’ name was on the cover, but it was actually written by Alan Dean Foster) around with me until a bully on the bus took it away and tore it in half.

Such is the life of a young geek.

In my early teen years, I discovered my next geeky hobby: Dungeons & Dragons. There was an “activity day” at my school. Groups of older kids hosted various activities, and we younger kids wandered around and took part and learned about them. Kind of like Pledge Week, without the humiliation and the homoerotic undertones. I joined in on a game of Dungeons & Dragons because a girl named Jade was sitting at the table, and I thought she was so cute. She had octagonal glasses, and her name was Jade. How cool is that? I had never heard of role-playing games, of course, so I had no idea what I was doing, but I had a great time anyway. I recall I used a “Pyrokinesis” spell to keep a dragon from breathing fire. I had no idea what the spell was or what it did, but it was called “pyrokinesis”, so it just stood to reason that I could keep a dragon from breathing fire, right? The GM agreed.

Well, I was hooked right there. Role-playing games became the second of my lifelong geeky pursuits. Jade never played with us again, but I played at lunchtime with my friends in school off and on until I graduated high school. I was never mocked or hazed for playing D&D. The only problem I can recall was toward the end of my senior year, the day after prom: my mom found my D&D books and burned them.

Such is the life of a young geek.

The third of my lifelong geeky pursuits was added in my sophomore year of high school. Our school got a set of TRS-80 Model III computers. I don’t recall how or why I started using them. It may have been an elective class. What I do know is that I immediately started writing computer programs in Basic. Dice-rolling programs (for D&D), a psionic combat resolution program (also for D&D — psionic combat resolution was a task well suited to a computer program), and so on. The TRS-80 Model IIIs were replaced by Model IVs in my junior year, and then by IBM PCs in my senior year. That was the year I started the Computer Club at my high school. (I’d started Philosophy Club the year before, and the D&D Club the year before that.)

In retrospect, starting clubs has always kind of been my thing. I like to create things that bring people together. That’s why I started RPG Library and PBEM News. Just recently, I started a YahooGroup forum/mailing list called Game System Workshop, devoted to tinkering with role-playing game designs, to share ideas about new game systems and to tinker around with existing ones. (Feel free to join it, if you are so inclined — it’s an open group.)

Walther P99

Years later (too many years later), I am still as much a geek as I ever was. I am a computer programmer working for DriveThruRPG (combining two of my geeky pursuits in one). I still play role-playing games, and I still like sharing my gaming ideas and seeing what other people’s ideas are. I still love movies (mostly bad movies). I maintain a Digital Archive Project torrent server for Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (only the episodes that aren’t commercially available), and I even had the slide of my Walther P99 plated with brushed stainless steel to resemble the pistols used by Kate Beckinsale in Underworld 2. That’s my pistol you see there on the right.

My name is Brandon Blackmoor, and I’m a geek. I’m married to the person I love, I can have all the sex I want, I make good money doing work I enjoy, and life is good.

Such is the life of an adult geek. 🙂