Why hello everyone lets get this post rolling! I decided to add another new addition to this site hope you will enjoy getting to know the geeks of the world more. If you are interested in being featured/interviewed send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will give you a rundown of what I will need! (All geeks from all walks of life are welcome!)
Lets just get right into the interview with Clancy you can follow him on twitter @PDXGeek777.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! Anything you’d like people to know!!
First, thanks for interviewing me. This was a really fun and interesting idea for your website Courtney.
We’ll probably tackle a number of geeky/nerdy subjects in your other questions. Here is a little about the 9-5 day. I am currently the Medical Programs Coordinator/Database & Website Administrator for a company in Oregon. We are an Organ Transplant/Cancer Network. I won’t bore your audience with the details. I will say what I like about my job is that along with my basic computer skills I get to sprinkle in my creative side as well. Things like marketing, website design, and video editing.
At what age did you fully embrace being a geek and why?
Being a geek has really just been a part of my personality since I was a kid. Growing up in the 80’s I started with the cartoon He-Man. Thanks to having tons of aunts and uncles, just about every toy they put out as well. Including Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain. What I wouldn’t give to still have all of my old toys! Actually most of my stuff was passed down to young cousins and I am glad they were able to enjoy something that would have remained in a box. The 80’s pretty much was my golden age for cartoons and toys. Thundercats, Transformers, Ghostbusters, G.I. Joe, and eventually the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. My brother and I had all of that stuff. I still love watching those old cartoons now.
I have a cousin who is over 10 years older than me. The first thing we got passed to us was the Atari, followed by his Commodore 64. Then a little later in the 80’s my brother won the grand prize for the boys at this company Christmas party raffle. The original Nintendo. Funny enough, one of my cousin’s won the grand prize for the girls which was a Barbie Dream House. This was a massive party and everyone was giving our table the stink-eye like we cheated or something. It made for a great family story. Anyway, those three systems are how I got started with video games. I logged hours upon hours on those things. Then of course it just kept going. Gameboy, SNES, Genesis, Playstation, etc.
I know a lot of kids were into those things. I think the big difference is I never stopped being interested in them. While I have always been into geek/nerd hobbies it still did take me a long time to be fully comfortable in my own skin. I think that is something a lot of people can relate to. It’s part of growing up too. I’d say around 25 I really started to chip away at the inner critic. At 33 I fully embrace the idea that nothing is “just for kids”. These are the things that I like and if you don’t get it that is perfectly fine. If you think about it, if someone rolls their eyes and says, “What, you’re into comics? Comics are for kids!”. Yes sir or ma’am I am. You have a good day. There is no point in wasting energy on people like that.
What kinds of music do you listen to? Is there any kinds that you just can’t stand?
Like my belt buckle says, Metalhead! My belt buckle doesn’t really say that. I’m actually a big fan of all types of music. Metal is my favorite, but I also really dig 60’s and 70’s rock and roll. Plus I have a large collection of blues and jazz albums. I won’t say that there is music I can’t stand. There is plenty of music I don’t understand. I’m glad it exists because someone must like it. Some examples would be drone music or more experimental jazz. I just can’t wrap my head around it. What can annoy me is general radio stations. They are designed to play the same stuff over and over to push certain music. This repetition can get on my nerves. Even with songs I love, after hearing them 10 times in one week it starts to get old. That is easily remedied with my iPod filled with music and podcasts!
Who is your favorite singer and/or band? Why?
I am probably a rare breed who says they love hardcore heavy metal, The Cure, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and absolutely love Frank Sinatra. To say I have tons of favorites is kind of a boring answer so I’ll pick one and talk a little about why.
Iron Maiden! I have all the albums, the live albums, the dvds and Blu-rays. Then there are the t-shirts and framed concert posters with ticket stubs. I’ll gobble up just about anything they put out. Along with being a favorite band, Bruce Dickinson is definitely a favorite singer. I love his almost operatic metal voice. He just kills it live as well. Even at 55 he is flying around the stage and bringing the crowd into the show. Maiden also masterfully uses the dual-lead guitar approach. They now have 3 lead players, but the dual guitar harmonies and trading back and forth of solos is magical to my ears. Iron Maiden also draws me in with the lyrics. I dig a good love song, but as we have established, I am a geek. Songs about Icarus, The Prisoner (60’s British Sci-fi show), Where Eagles Dare (Clint Eastwood movie), and not to mention near fourteen minute epics based on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner or Alexander the Great. This subject matter just makes me giddy! Check out the video for The Wicker Man. One of my favorite Maiden songs based on the old Christopher Lee cult film.
My brother and I have seen Iron Maiden perform 3 times in recent years. Each time was right outside of Seattle at this amphitheater with over 10,000 screaming Maiden fans. The last show, we were able to get my uncle out here from Chicago as his 50th Birthday present. That made the show extra special. You will see a good 80-90% of fans sporting a Maiden shirt and we just take over the town! I usually sign up for the fan club just so I can get first crack at pit tickets. All three times we were down in the pit spitting distance from Bruce, Steve, Dave, Adrian, Nicko, and Janick! This leads me to why I pick them as a favorite. Nothing has the ability to take me back to that magical feeling of the unknown like Iron Maiden (maybe Metallica). Most bands that I have seen multiple times, that magic slowly fades a little. With a band like Maiden each time is the first time. As soon as those lights dim and the intro starts to play I am an excited 15-year-old kid again. When they began to play the opening notes of their song Phantom of the Opera, I was drumming on my brothers back and jumping in the air with excitement. Talking about a Maiden show is really an article in itself. I’ll try to sum up by saying with the use of backdrops, stage props, lighting, Bruce’s stage presence, and the band’s music, Iron Maiden turns a heavy metal show into something special. Every song is almost a play within a play. I’ll whet your appetite with this photo from the last tour I saw. The stage, which changes every tour, was developed around one of my favorite of the 80’s albums. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.
What is one thing about yourself that not many people know?
Hmmm, this is a tough question. I can be a fairly open book. Note the amount I have already said about myself here. How about something that people know, but it can be a surprise to them. I really dig a good musical. Anything from an old Disney flick like the Jungle Book to an Andrew Lloyd Webber production like Phantom of the Opera.
Which comic books grab your attention the most and why?
I want what I read to have interesting characters first and foremost. My collection has more Conan books than anything else. That is a character I have loved for a long time. I don’t remember the exact year, but around the time I was 10 my family was cleaning out my grandma’s house after she had passed away. I found an old issue of the black and white comic, The Savage Sword of Conan. The copy is long gone and I can’t recall which issue it was. What I do remember was falling in love with the adult subject matter and wonderful art. I spent more time looking over the artwork which was quite different from the art in other comics I was reading at the time. I am very happy with how Dark Horse has handled that character. Robert E Howard left behind a lot of work to pull from in his original Conan stories. Tales from all eras of the barbarian’s life. Depending on what story you are reading you have a young kid, naive to the realities of society up to the seasoned veteran warrior who became king. They are also reprinting all of the old Savage Sword of Conan books in large trade paperbacks. To have that much material to read as a fan is wonderful.
You have a blog of your own what made you want to join my horror movie club?
One of my goals with the current page was to be more active as a community. Solo projects can be fun, but I find collaboration even more fun and exciting. The more you work with other people, the more you are able to reach different audiences. So when I saw your tweet it sounded like a good idea. From there I was exposed to a number of your followers and eventually found my way to the podcast you do. ChickCast. I really enjoy the show and look forward to it every week. That lead to finding out about the TeeFury website. I now give them a lot of business and love the high quality shirts. @Fury_Conception is another example. Because of ChickCast I now have two beautiful prints on my wall. I don’t think I am the only one, other listeners are turned on to her art. Then of course it expands from there. I’m going to address it in a different question, but I also have two upcoming projects that stem from your initial movie club tweet. Who knows what comes from each of those. All of this in a few months built from an email asking if I could be one of the people to contribute. None of that was my intention. I just wanted to write movie reviews with a cool group of people. Everything else is just a nice bonus!
In geek culture what was the hardest hobby for you to get into?
I don’t know. It is a good question. While I have always enjoyed a wide variety of things I could also be judgmental or dismissive of certain things when I was younger. Again, I think part of that was due to immaturity. As I got older I began to care less and less what others might think. I will give you an example of something that 1998 Clancy would have scratched his head at. Pokémon hit the United States when I was in my late teens/early 20’s. If you went back in time and said to me, “Hey, you’re going to buy a bunch of Pokémon games when you’re 33!” he would probably just laugh. Mostly because around that time I was much more focused on more adult oriented titles. Given the choice between shotgunning zombie heads or catching cute little monsters… While I still play the adult games I also crave the stuff I enjoyed growing up as a kid. That just happened to be Nintendo. That is the great thing about the era we live in. There is so much stuff out there. You may not have time to enjoy it today, but it’s not going anywhere. It’s happy to wait.
What’s your all time favorite table top game that you have played? What games would you recommend to a noob of table top gaming?
Dungeons & Dragons. My favorite moments sitting around the gaming table all go back to D&D. That was the first paper and pencil game that I enjoyed. Mostly through high school and college. I have recently started getting into Pathfinder which is built off of Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition. I have interested players, I just need to make the time to get familiar with the rules.
If you are interested in getting into tabletop RPGs I would say the best option is to find a group that already knows how to play. You don’t have to worry so much about the rules and can focus on the roleplaying and interaction. I was fortunate to have a friend whose Dad played D&D back in the 70’s and 80’s. He created wonderful games and ran us through campaigns almost weekly. That isn’t always ideal and getting started is still pretty easy. Many games like Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons have starter box sets. These have everything needed to play at an affordable price. I have never played it, but did a little research on Steve Jackson’s roleplaying game, GURPS (Generic Universal Roleplaying System). The idea is you can build any type of game whereas many systems are purely fantasy or science fiction. Granted you can bend any system to your liking. I believe GURPS has a free Lite version that could be worth a try. FREE being the keyword.
If you’re not looking for something as in-depth as full-fledged roleplaying I can give you a few places to start. A copy of Ticket to Ride, Zombie Dice, and Munchkin.
Zombie dice is a fast and easy dice game that works wonders for between game fun. Roll the dice to eat brains, don’t get shotgunned. Easy enough.
Ticket to Ride is also fairly easy to pick up, but will take a little longer to play. The core game is the United States map. You get your trains and routes, then start building. Strategy will help you win, but it’s not as intense as a game like Axis & Allies. You could be the world’s worst strategist and still have fun.
This is actually what the company says about Munchkin, “Munchkin is the mega-hit card game about dungeon adventure . . . with none of that stupid roleplaying stuff”. It’s a joke, but also true.
If you could give a geek from this generation advice what would you say?
The simple and maybe obvious answer, be yourself and do what you can to like/love yourself. I would also suggest to stay open-minded. You may be surprised what comes from it. Try and focus your creative energy on the positive. Putting yourself 100% into the things that make you happy will do more for your state of mind than wasting time bashing Doctor Who in a message board. The last thing I would say is the internet has become quite the community. If your goal is to establish an online presence for yourself think real hard about who you want that person to be. I find that representing myself exactly as I am in real life works well. It’s up to the individual.
How has social media impacted/improved your life? if it affected it negatively how so?
For the most part social media has improved my life. It has allowed me to rekindle relationships with friends and family who all live in the Midwest. I won’t repeat everything I said before, but all of my current artistic projects have spawned from social media.
If you could change one thing about the geek/nerd culture what would it be and why?
I wouldn’t change anything. Any bad experience you have can probably be traced back to human nature and not the things we enjoy. I think it is wonderful that we have so much content to choose from. I think our differences are what makes life interesting. Those interactions can help us grow and expose us to new things. That said, how cool is it to be able to find other people who also love the obscure things you do just by sending out a tweet or something similar.
Who is/was your biggest influence in your life? Did they inspire you to be the geek you are today?
My brother and yes. He is my best friend and has been since he was old enough to interact with me. We have our differences, but also share many things in common. As the older brother I remember helping him beat parts of video games and then being proud the day he no longer asked. He is about 2.5 years younger, so I think I was able to hold on to a lot of my childhood through him. Why stop playing G.I. Joes when the kid down the hall still wants to play?! I have always been way more of a geek, but we share a love of music and comics. The added bonus to that, while we have our own collections, I have twice the books and albums available to me! …and vice versa.
Any special projects you have in store for the future that you would like to share with the readers?
There is of course my website http://pdxgeek777.com/ which is the hub for all projects that I work on. I am currently getting a script put together for my web comic Cube Wars. Most if not all of the art will be done by a friend.
I just started writing for http://webegeekspc.com/ and you can expect my first article to be posted soon. My bio is out on the site and I have named my Column The PDX-Files. This also allowed me to design a logo which I’m rather happy with. That will be available with my first post. The column will focus on video games and tabletop games. I have also said I will write about the current Conan comics. I’m excited about this project.
Another project is for a friend’s album. His band, Dirty Bird asked me to do the artwork. I have been chipping away at that project for a couple of months now. The music is done and we’re actually meeting tonight to talk about it. That will go up at my website once everything is done.
Then of course we have your movie club! Leida and I will have another horror movie review up at this website soon.
With that I want to say thanks again Courtney.