Category Archives: Games Workshop

Am I Still A Geek?

When I created this image I really thought this blog was going to go another way.

In the past I would have no problem identifying with this statement:

I am a geek.

I don’t think that this is any kind of real surprise to anyone who reads this blog or knows me, but it’s not something that I bring up that often for public consumption.  Working in toys has really activated my geekery gene and since that is what I’ve been spending so much time on turning it into content for the internet seemed like the next natural choice. But as I’ve gotten back into my geekier pursuits I’ve noticed that I’m not feeling particularly connected to “geek” as a community – and I don’t know how I feel about that.

Why do we care?

In all likelihood you probably don’t, but it’s very possible that we are about to see a change to geek culture and since geek culture has been mainstreamed any changes that come are likely going to affect the entertainment industry in a massive way. I think my identity crisis is just a symptom of something bigger… maybe.

Being a geek is nothing new and we are somehow still in a geek culture golden age. If you were to tell me twenty-five years ago that some of the most popular things on YouTube, videos that were getting MILLIONS of views, were of people playing Dungeons and Dragons and other role playing games I’d laugh until I passed out. Put on top of that the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most popular, profitable and unstoppable franchise factories making household names out of characters that no one knew of merely a decade ago? And the fact that Star Wars as a universe is still chugging along in mainstream media? And that I can find Iron Man action figures in just about every single armor that he has ever worn both on screen and in the comics? I tell you my little teenage heart would burst.

But it was not always this way.

I like to frame myself as a “proud geek,” but if I’m being honest that hasn’t always been true. Even in times as geek popular as now I tend to hold that part back from the spotlight. In the past I have justified this hiding because of my “brand.” On this blog and on social media I preferred to be an actor first, focus on career related things… and every once in a while toss in an obscure movie reference, mention that I need to go play D&D, or talk about Iron Man. But that was not very authentic in how much of my private identity can be tied back to what are considered geeky (sometimes VERY geeky) things.

Although some of the geeky things have gained a hip status, the fact of the matter is that all the cool popular people playing or involved in this stuff  are a very small, niche part of the people who play and participate in the core of geekery. The core audience still carries the stigma that was turned into stereotypes used in TV and movies, especially in the late 70’s through the 90’s. Hell, that was my bread and butter for most of my young acting career.

That’s me, in the broken glasses, as Kirby the Nerd.

You can see it in the faces of cosplayers, Magic the Gathering players, wargamers and hard core D&D enthusists; there is an underlying fear anytime they are around people outside of their community that they will be made fun of. And I totally get that, I have also had that fear.

I think that Simon Pegg has presented the best definition of the modern geek:

As he points out, this doesn’t just apply to things like superhero fans and Warhammer 40,000 players but sports fanatics and people who love cars too. But the stigma doesn’t follow the latter the way it does the former. Jocks and nerds may be satisfying the same itch deep down, but society in general views them in very different ways and always at odds.

I was at Rose City Comic Con this year. It’s the first con that I’ve been to since San Diego ComiCon back in either 2012 or 2014 (I can’t remember) and even longer than that since I went to a convention of any size that wasn’t related to the entertainment industry in some way shape or form. This year felt different than what I remember.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are of my dad and I going to comic cons all over Southern California (mostly the Shrine Shows in L.A.) looking for old Iron Man back issues, checking out old toys and collectables, and doing our best to bargain down a price with the dealers. At these shows I built a very impressive collection of Yoda memorabilia, got my first Iron Man action figure from the defunct Secret Wars line, and completed a volume 1 collection of Iron Man comics. 

I would spend my days reading comics and coming up with adventures for all my favorite characters in my head. The reading material came in handy for auditions as well since I was merely a passengers for nearly a decade. I was proud to know as much about the Marvel Universe as I did. I knew Doctor Who lore and stories that would surprise adult fans. I knew Star Wars down to the Tonnika sisters. But I had very few people that I could share all this with.

Junior High School, the worst of all the “schools” in my opinion, was when I met my core group of friends, people I still know and love to this day. Jeff Garvin was my entry point to the group. He and I met doing Annie with a community theater group (another thing that is generally considered pretty geeky, but that’s another blog post altogether). We shared mutual interests, Star Wars and comic books in a general sense, and he introduced me to his Dungeons and Dragons group. Jeff, Dan and Scott became my best friends through school. 

In addition to D&D we shared other common interests in movies and music. Star Wars and Indiana Jones were big favorites and we spent way too much playing the original X-Wing and TIE Fighter computer games. We tried some other RPGs and Dan, Scott and I all started playing Warhammer 40k. We had each other’s backs. We were our own little community and we could run in the circles of other geek communities without effort.

At Rose City Comic Con I was the outsider. Even though I’m an over 40-bearded-beer-gut-guy (a description that has come to be the standard archetype for the stereotypical geek) I saw the distrustful looks that came from the cosplayers and gamers and comic book fans. I imagine I must’ve looked like a dad who was missing his kid, especially since I was there by myself. There was a part of me that wanted to say, “Don’t worry I’m totally one of you.” But even writing that seems condescending and pointless, especially since geekdom and fandom are plagued by toxic jerks right now. I can’t find fault with the suspicious looks. If you didn’t know any better I could be one of those entitled, angry and anonymous man-children screaming about The Last Jedi. Toxic Fandom is the culmination of people who felt powerless finding a voice and, in most circumstances, trying to claim ownership on a fictional world that should be open to everyone. When that kind of “fandom” finds other people who feel the same we get things like what we saw with recent Star Wars stars leaving social media.

But that’s not what I want to see. Sure there will always be jerks, but in general the community is at its best when it is supportive of each other and when people who want to learn about and participate in the geekery are welcomed. Even though I got a lot of side-eye yesterday, the folks at the convention we all very polite and super excited about what they were doing there. That’s the part I like. That’s what I’d like to see more of.

To that point I’m going to start talking about my geekier pursuits here on the blog more. I may not feel like I’m directly linked into the community like I used to be, but I still D&D like a boss, build and paint 40k armies competently, and can still throw down in Supernatural continuity conversations with the best of them. The old saying goes “be the change you’d like to see” and I’d like to help put some positivity back into the geeky stuff that I love.

Please join me! Tell me about the geeky stuff you love in the comments. Introduce me to that thing you like that maybe you’re self conscious about. Let’s build a better community without entitlement and toxicity.

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Geekatude: Witch Hunters & Returning to 40k

There are previous posts about my geekness.  I’m a guy who still plays D&D (3.5 with the same guys who I’ve been playing with for about 20 years), I love scifi, horror, & fantasy and I’m a Warhammer 40,000 gamer.  I’m going to let my freak flag fly and start doing blogs under the Geekatude banner where I’ll talk about stuff I’m doing associated with my hobbies and whatever else seems kinda’ geeky.

To start I’m going to show off some of the current hobby projects that I’ve either just finished and the ones I’ve just started.  First things first – I’ve FINALLY finished my Mordheim Witch Hunters warband! For the un-initiated Mordheim is a Games Workshop table-top skirmish game.  You can learn more about it HERE.  The last time I played this game was 2003.  Yeah, it was a long time ago.  I’ve been a bit busy.  The Witch Hunters are religious zealots who wander the streets of Mordheim beating mutants and rat men and anyone else who crosses their path.  Insert your own political joke here.  The Witch Hunters themselves look like really mean pilgrims and they are followed by crazies and flagellants and keep warhounds.  Here’s the whole warband:

I was playing in a league when I put these guys together and did well enough, but I’ve always wanted to play them again, I’m hoping I’ll get the opportunity in the next league – Mordheim is not a widely played game.  These are some of my favorite guys:

This is a warhound based on Frankie.  This bit of resin is 1000 times more vicious than the real Frankie.

This is my WH Captain.  That contorted face is the face of righteous anger!

This guy is so zany he fights with a hand puppet.

This was the guy I finished when I started painting again this year.  Started in 2003, finished in 2011.

This is the bounty hunter I finished before starting the new project.

On the “New Project” front I have started filling in the troops for my Warhammer 40,000, AKA 40k, army (learn about it HERE).  I used to be a Space Marine guy, at the time I had more money than sense and bought a LOT of armies – Nurgle Chaos Marines, Tau, more marine stuff and loads more plastic and pewter than a man could ever paint or use.  These extra bits came in handy when it came time to pay for my divorce, but I kept the Imperial Guard Army because deep down that was always the army I wanted (although I have had some pretty good Space Marine ideas again… but they’ll have to wait…).  This is the state of my paint station as of this afternoon:

If all goes to plan, as slim a chance as that might be, then I should have a fully painted 1,500 points of IG by the end of summer…

…or a lot of primed plastic.  We’ll see how things go.

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under dungeons and dragons, Games Workshop, geek, hobby, mordheim, new projects, warhammer 40k

Project 365 10-2-2010 D&D & Birthdays.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a geek.  I play Dungeons & Dragons un-apologetically and a few other different table top war games like Warhammer 40k and Mordheim.

I play D&D with my oldest childhood friends and so the game really becomes an excuse to get together and catch-up…

…in addition to killing orcs, goblins, and lord only knows what other monsters.

Part of tonight’s game was eating cake for my friend, Liz’s, birthday:

See you tomorrow!


Filed under dungeons and dragons, friends, Games Workshop, project 365 2010

Talk Radio

I wanted to start this by talking about “how old I am” and emphasizing age and being cranky, but that’s not really what this is about and I’m starting to annoy myself with how much I talk about being “the old guy” at 32. Mind you, when I’m at Shmimprov or surrounded by my students, it’s easy to feel like that when everyone else is 25 or under, but when it comes right down to it I’m still “young” in the eyes of society.

What I will bitch about, though, is that at 32 I am pretty set as an adult. You won’t find many people that will say that at 32 you don’t have any responsibilities or notice that your tastes have changed at least a little and that’s really what I want to talk about, changing tastes.

I knew that I had entered “adult life” the moment I discovered podcasts.

Yes, that’s what I said, podcasts.

Or, as I like to call them, talk radio for Generation X.

While people in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s listen to Rush, Dr. Laura and the other freaks on the radio people in their 30’s and younger listen to the freaks that record via Skype on all manner of esoteric topics like Star Trek, Doctor Who comic books and such-n-such. When I first got my iPod I was all music all the time. I spend the better part of a month uploading all of my CD’s onto the computer and then importing to iTunes. I scoured my friends music collections, my parents, any stranger who would let me and added it to the mix. I got obsessed with making playlists that would be perfect for any particular occasion.

Then, during a trip to the iTunes store, I stumbled on these things called podcasts and they had titles like iFanboy, Around Comics, Gallifrey Embassy… all very geeky and all up my alley. I started by downloading anything that looked like it might be good. That habit stopped very quickly. Just because you have a podcast doesn’t mean that it’s any good. The only quality control there is are the reviews that are written by the most committed of listeners. But to the point, as I explored further I found the combination of podcasts that satisfy all of my needs, from news to geeky pursuits. Just like the talk radio so popular with the older adult demographic, I now know that I’m close to joining their ranks, at least in spirit, as I get more enjoyment from listening to fanboys talk rather than Panic at the Disco.

Here is a list of the pocasts that I currently subscribe to for your perusal. I would add hotlinks, but I got all of these from the iTunes Store, so I suggest getting them there.

  • Around Comics – Round table discussion about the world and culture of comic books. This is one of the best out there.
  • BBGeeks – All Blackberry news. About 10 min. long with news and rumors.
  • The Bugle – An English version of The Daily Show in audio form. Funny and timely.
  • The Crankcast – Comic book creators talking about the business, shows they like and regular Joe stuff. Hard to describe, but one of my favorites!
  • The /Filmcast – Movie news and commentary with writers, directors and actors often as guests. It’s a companion to /film.
  • iFanboy – My favorite comic book podcast! Every week they run down the best, and sometimes the worst, comics released.
  • JapanesePod101 – This is where I learn Japanese.
  • Marvel Podcasts – I’m a Marvel Zombie.
  • NPR: Story of the Day, World Story of the Day, Pop Culture & Technology Podcasts – This is all the news I ever need.
  • Real Time with Bill Maher – I love it. I hate it. It might be the whole show, might only be New Rules.
  • Tom vs The Flash – Tom Katers reads and comments on every silver age issue of The Flash. It is awesome.
  • 40k Radio – This is a Warhammer 40,000 podcast that is only for the true gamer. If you don’t play the game skip it because it will scar you. Not scare you, scar you. Gamers and their fanaticism are not for the faint of heart.

See you tomorrow!


Filed under comic books, Games Workshop, geek, making movies, movies, podcasts, politics, social commentary

Geek-A-Tude Update

So I’m getting back into the swing of things and getting my “paint” back on practicing on the remaining unpainted Which Hunters in my Mordheim warband. Is it Greek to you already? No problem, there’s no more “game speak” from here on out, just “art speak” and even that will be at an elementary level.

Half of the fun of playing the games that I play is the “crafty” half where you paint and put together all the toys you’ll eventually play with. After dusting off all my stuff from storage I was met with the rather unfortunate situation where a little over half of my paints were dried out! Yikes! Paint isn’t expensive, but it isn’t free either and when you have to replace over half of a color palette that includes about 80 shades it means that getting back to full takes some time.

In my off hours the last few days (between 9pm and 2am) I’ve had a chance to whip out the brush. The picture at the top of this blog shows my current works in progress. No, not the one on the left, he’s finished and there to remind me of my color choices for this warband, but the two on the right. The center guy is a Which Hunter – think Salem Which Trials, but less tolerant and more trigger happy – and the guy on the right is a bounty hunter. All that aside I was able to finish their faces last night.

As you can see on both the completed Which Hunter and the WIP Which Hunter I’ve gone for very contrasting skin tones so that they look gaunt and pale, like they spend too much time inside torturing prisoners. I also tried to keep the areas around the eyes unusually dark to add to the “crazy stare” appearance. Tunics, weapons and capes will have to wait, however because I don’t have all of those colors yet – close but not quite!

The bounty hunter is a bit different. I still went with high skin tone contrast, but favored healthier looking skin since this is a fella who is probably good at his job as evidenced by his ability to buy food thereby adding to his corpulent appearance. He also has a rather prominent mole on his chin. I’m still trying to figure out how best to show that it is a mole. As it is right now it is a dark mole. I’d put hair on it if I could.

Up next I’ll be painting some war dogs. I have all the colors for those and fur is fun and quick to paint.

See you tomorrow!


Filed under Games Workshop, geek, mordheim, update, warhammer 40k, which hunters