Sharing Day!

Instead of Open Critique Day, I want to try something new -- I think we should all get to know each other better. To that end, in the comments below I invite you to answer the following question about yourself:

Describe a point in your life when you experienced a moment of "Eurgeeka!", when you were able to admit to yourself that you are indeed a geek in some way.

Each person who does can ask me, Jeff Hebert™, any one question you like and I will answer truthfully -- about HeroMachine, the blog, something more personal, whatever you like.

I'll start off with an example of eurgeeka from my own life.

You want me to sign what?

I went to my first (and only) Star Trek convention in Texas with my buddy John and this unbelievably gorgeous woman with whom he worked. (Incidentally, for a really good time, take a beautiful lady to a Star Trek convention. It's like watching cars slide out of control on icy roads as your fellow male geeks crash into each other in her wake.) You'd think just going to a Star Trek convention in the first place would make you feel pretty geeky, but no.

As part of the weekend we attended a film marathon where they showed all five (at the time) Star Trek movies in a row. Back to back. Even the awful ones. And you know, after eight and a half hours of constant Trek, the fifth movie isn't all that bad. You just have to break down your resistance first.

But even that wasn't my moment of eurgeeka.

That was reserved for an earlier interview session with Michael Dorn, the actor who played Worf in the Next Generation. It was a lively, interesting talk and I enjoyed hearing from a working professional about how they do what they do. But after his talk they opened the floor to questions and answers, wherein a parade of people offered him gifts of one sort or another. It was like watching natives pile up offerings to an idol. One guy gave him a hand-crafted Bajoran nose-ear ring, and actually asked him to put it on right there.

"I am NOT wearing an earring," I believe was the response, delivered with that distinctive Worf growling undertone. Apparently dating a Betazoid makes you grumpy.

Whereupon Jeff, another buddy along with us, leaned over and said in his best Simpsons pimply teenager voice, "Mister Dorn, would you sign my ass?" We all lost it, and the relief of humor ushered in my overwhelming sense of eurgeeka -- I was at a Star Trek convention, staring down the prospect of ten hours straight of Star Trek movies later that evening, surrounded by people who thought nothing of acting other grown men to sign various embarrassing items and wear jewelry, and I was going to laugh at them?! I was one of them -- I was a geek, and there was no denying it!

So lay it out there, tell us your favorite moment of self-realization when you experienced nerdvana, a moment when the circle of geek became complete and you felt fully, gloriously, unabashedly your nerdiest self and loved it!

83 Responses to Sharing Day!

  1. Captain Kicktar says:

    When I answered a quiz on the creator of Minecraft in under a minute and got all of them right.

  2. Captain Kicktar says:

    Oh, and what is your daily routine?

  3. Watson Bradshaw says:

    I had a moment of geek gold back in 04. My buddy had got us tickets to the Hollywood Bowl to watch the LA Philharmonic do songs from videogames. They had set up a massive arcade with classic arcade games in the concessions. As we were getting ready to go in we get in a small line leading to the bowl, and right in front of me was Stan “The Man” Lee! I couldn’t believe it I had a geek meltdown, but he was super nice and we had an amazing conversation with Stan who wasn’t being mobbed at this event unlike the usual cons, My friend took a picture with my cell phone but didn’t save it so I had no evidence of it ever happening. It was like meeting a living legend, someone that had created characters that where part of my DNA since I was a 4 year old with a Spider-man VS Green Goblin lunchbox.

    I did get my photo with him 6 years later at the Anaheim Wizard world, but it was a very different and less personal setting.

  4. John says:

    *sniff*…ah, those were the days…!

  5. Patrick says:

    I was patronizing my local comic shop, when I overheard a conversation between the shop owner and a customer. It was the type of conversation only comic book fans can have, where the minutae of a fictional character’s life is debated with the same raw integrity and zeal as one would imagine the Great Compromise was in the halls of our nation’s capitol.

    The conversation concerned a run of “Justice Society of America” which starred the Superman from the Kingdom Come series. The owner was aking why it appeared that the Kingdom Come Superman appeared more powerful than the Earth Prime Superman.

    Suddenly I heard a third voice. A voice that spoke with the affectation of a self appointed expert. “Remember, from Kingdom Come that Superman was more powerful and invulnerable to kryptonite from prolonged exposure to our sun’s rays? That’s probably why.”

    It was with horror that I realized that voice was mine! And with deepening dread I also realized I had become that which I most feared and despised, a know-it-all geek.

  6. Jeff Hebert says:

    Captain Kicktar (2): I realize this may be major Geek Fail, but what is Minecraft?

    As far as my daily routine goes, I wake up around 6:30 or 7 (Mountain Time), have coffee, check blogs, make the Daily Panel post, and in general wake up. Around 8:30 I go and take care of the equines (three horses/four donkeys), and walk down to get the paper. I come back and work, either writing or drawing or coding, until lunch, repeat after lunch till dinner time, then knock off to make our nightly repast.

    I get frustrated sometimes because I never know how long it will take to get into a creative space where I can actually produce anything; sometimes as soon as I sit down at the computer I can crank out work, but sometimes I have to fart around for a couple of hours.

  7. Jeff Hebert says:

    Watson (3): Great story, thanks! Stan is awesome. I hope the concert was as good as it sounds — do you remember what games they pulled songs from? I’d be curious to hear how those old Nintendo and Atari 8-bit sounds would come off with an orchestra.

  8. Jeff Hebert says:

    Patrick (5): Never despise the geek! Love him, embrace him, accept him! And then tell him why he’s wrong, because that’s what we geeks do.

  9. Watson Bradshaw says:

    Jeff they did a great version of the Legend of Zelda theme, sonic the hedgehog, Metal gear Solid, an amazing version of the Call of Duty 3 score, and even an Atari mash up! It all ends with a live version of the score from TRON. The concert was complete with a huge projection screen showing the games and actors on stage as some of the characters.

  10. Tuldabar says:

    When I realized a few days ago that I had been eagerly awaiting Star Wars: The Old Republic for two and a half years. I signed on to the main website less than a week after it premered.

  11. Violet says:

    Jeff: When did you realize that you could draw? Like, not “Oh man, that’s a pretty good nose I just doodled on my notebook”, but when did it hit you that you could use your hands to manipulate a pencil and transfer an almost precise mental image to paper?

  12. MScat says:

    Deep down I have always know i was different from “normal” people, but the REAL eurgeeka happened on here.

    Just a little bit ago there was the poll about which comicbook death was the greatest. After I commented three times debating with the other guys I realized: “I’m talking about these characters like they are real people!”

    Before that moment there were small things. Talking to people at comic shops. Before going to see x-men 2 being quizzed by a guy about how much i knew x-men. Sitting in the theater to see Star Wars Episode 3 and arguing with the guy behind me over how many kids Han Solo had! 3!!!! Anyways, they all led up to this moment…I’m on a blog…one that you can create your own Hero…and I’m telling the world when I realized I was a geek. Sigh

  13. Violet says:

    Oh, I have to share first, don’t I? Damn.

    This is not my most unabashedly geekiest moment, nor when I felt whole with the inner geek of myself, but my most massive level of fangirlishness (the one that came to mind immediately) is not at all acceptable for this venue. So I am sharing this instead, which is decidedly more wholesome and containing the same amount of dorkiness.

    When I was in the fifth grade, the Star Wars special editions came out in theaters. It was my first time seeing them and I treated it as a massive cultural, pseudo religious, experience. How I had never been spoiled for them before that is a mystery, but it became an Important Thing. It consumed my every waking moment, this film trilogy. It also had a bunch of accompanying books to continue the story and I was so excited when I found that section in our library, treating everything I read from them as new canon.

    But, it was the very distinct point where I realized two things: 1.) None of the other girls around me appreciated Star Wars and 2.) None of the boys around me appreciated Star Wars to the same extent as me.

    So, this led to me, an eleven year-old girl, carrying around large hardcovers with the golden Star Wars logo emblazoned on the front (seriously, my library had no subtle paperback copies) and unable to communicate with anyone properly about my obsession. Sure, I would have shallow conversation regarding a movie people thought was “fun” or “cool”, but it could go no further than that.

    In middle school, I learned to completely obsess over not looking stupid. Traded my straight-legged jeans for bell bottoms, my cheery disposition for quiet reflection, and my Star Wars fascination became a deeply hidden shame that I wouldn’t dare let loose unless I was on my own. But that was when I learned what a geek was, you see…according to middle schoolers who use it interchangeably with nerd or dork. It just wasn’t cool to like a boy-related thing that freakin’ much. Or, really, anything at all that much.

    But I knew there were people who did. People gushed about math equations and classic literature, right? And they were considered productive members of society. Yet I was considered strange for doing it with a fictional universe. I had become a complete geek, and knew it, without having a proper term for it until high school.

    So, in conclusion, Star Wars is everywhere and acceptable now and has tons of cool stuff and I am bitter as hell. Well, I would be a lot more bitter if I didn’t love prequel novels so much. Still, it is the principle of the thing.

  14. John says:

    Since Jeff has included me as a participant in his seminal eurgeeka moment, I, too, shall share.

    Jeff and I have another college buddy, “Dave,” (whose name is changed to protect his identity) with whom we have shared many a geekish moment, including the aforementioned Michael Dorn gem.

    Star Trek: TNG was a particular obsession of ours in college, so you can imagine our joy when the first TNG movie, Generations was released in ’94. I came down to San Antonio to meet up with Jeff and “Dave” for the big event. While walking into the theater, “Dave” says to me, “I wanna be a geek like you, John. I mean, you’re a geek, but you’re a cool geek.”

    Never before had I thought of myself in such terms. Unbeknownst to me, I was no longer just some dude who read comics, but I was now a Geek Mentor, someone whose lifestyle was fit to emulate and admire. It was a moment of clarity I’ve never forgotten.

  15. thejay says:

    I’m 25 and I’ve written two fantasy novels so far. No one has read them except for my old man, and he never finished.

  16. Frevoli says:

    spending over £500 on Marvel Lengends action figures… or browsing the internet and debating the quality of Green Lantern rings

    Jeff; how’d you first think of heromachine?

  17. Solander says:

    I guess I first realized it during high school. I’m a real movie geek, and have spent many hours of my life debating and discussing different movie subjects. But the first time I actually knew it, was after I had seen the horror movie “The Ring” together with some friends, and I had spent 15 minutes arguing why the Japanese version was a lot scarier then the American one.

    Ahh… the geekness!

    So Jeff, I understand from previous comments that you have horses. What breed are those? (Being a vet student in Norway, I don’t see a lot of different breeds, except for the common ones back here).

  18. DiCicatriz says:

    When I was in high school I taught myself to write in the runes Tolkien designed for Lord of the Rings (specifically the Angerthas Daeron), which to me personally didn’t seem all that geeky. I would sometimes write out names or words on my hand with a pen when I was bored in class, but it wasn’t until I used them as cribs notes for a test I had failed to study for that I realized the true depths of my nerdom.

    Also I remember a specific moment when I was going through old comics with my partner and I came across the JLA/Avengers miniseries (specifically issue #3 that had this cover: and he kept asking me what everybody’s names were and what their powers were. We got through the whole cover when I realized that I had managed to name 98% of the characters, and that I knew enough about their backstory to explain to him who they were and how they fit on their respective teams. We hadn’t been going out long and I’d never been so vocally enthusiastic about the subject before, so that was another big geek reveal for me. Luckily he was and remains ok with it (even got me a Thor birthday cake this year!)

  19. Myro says:

    Like MScat, I’ve always known I was a geek. Or different. Between having seen all three movies from the original Star Wars trilogy in excess of 100 times before I was 18, the comic books, collectibles, intense fascination with anime that stretched back to watching episodes of Battle of the Planets and Robotech when I was a kid (well before anime became cool and mainstream in the 90s), playing Dungeons and Dragons, high grades in school(especially math and science), and a tendency to empathize more with fictional characters than my own family, it’s hard not to escape that conclusion.
    On the other hand, my geekiness was generally something that I kept hidden a lot, even downplaying sometimes with my friends, who know I’m a geek anyway, so my true Eurgeeka moment was actually the one when I actually had come to accept, even take pride in my social standing. I was chatting online with my now-fiancee, and she had been doing online quizzes, when she found a “Geek-Quotient” quiz, which she insisted I had to do, knowing that I was, in fact, a geek.
    So, as I’m going through the quiz, I come to the question, “Have you answered “Yes” to any of the questions in this quiz just to increase your geek quotient?” And it occurs to me that in a few cases, where the answer was borderline (for example, “Do you collect comic books?” I did not at the time, but I still maintained a fair collection from when I was collecting in the past), I’d answer yes anyway. So after pausing to consider that I had probably erred on the side of geekiness 10 times during this quiz (it was pretty long), I had decided that I was in fact inflating my geek quotient deliberately, and answered yes to that question with a determined satisfaction.
    Funny thing, I don’t remember what my actual score was, although it was pretty high, but not as high as I thought it would be. I remember my fiancee laughing at my score when I told it to her, because she’s definitely not a geek, but the revelation that I was maybe trying to make myself more of a geek than I may actually have been made me far more accepting of who I was.

  20. Jeff Hebert says:

    Watson (9): Sounds great!

    Tuldabar (10): I was really pumped for that game, but now I’m on satellite internet and can’t play it. I am so bummed out.

    Violet (11): It’s hard to say, I’ve literally been drawing since I could hold a pencil. My mom would bring home stacks of used computer paper from her office and I could draw on the backs — I used them all. I literally can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fairly obsessed with drawing, and specifically super heroes. Oddly, the moment when I knew I was going to pursue it seriously was when I saw how much better another guy was than me freshman year in high school. He did a Hulk that I still envy — my reaction was an instant “I am going to be that good one day” and I still think that every time I see the stuff on Comic Twart or Project Rooftop.

    MSCat (12): I’m proud we were here to usher in your nerdvana 🙂

    Violet (13): Well then, we DEFINITELY need to get you to a venue where the story would be appropriate, because now I’m hooked! I get what you’re saying though, it seems like if you express a passion for anything when you’re that age, you’re a weirdo. And it is bizarre how the stuff that was so looked down upon while we were growing up — sci fi, fantasy, comics — are all now the major driving factors in most movies, books, and tv shows. Truly, we live in Bizarro World where nerds rule the world. Whoda thunk it when we were being humiliated in middle school?!

    John (14): You are STILL the Master!

    thejay (15): Is that by your choice? There are online groups where you can submit work for peer review, if like me you live in the middle of nowhere and finding a face to face group is impossible. If it was worth your time to write, it’s worth time to read, right?

    Frevoli (16): I remember talking to a guy at Dragon*Con last year who was from Brazil. He spent tens of thousands of dollars to get an authentic RoboCop costume made from the original molds, tracking the original prop guy down in France or wherever he was. So you’re definitely not alone.

    I first thought of HeroMachine while I was working at 3M in Austin ten years ago or so. I wanted to learn how to program VisualBasic and thought a digital version of the Mighty Men and Monster Maker set I had as a kid would be a fun way to learn, since I tend to teach myself languages better if I have a set project in mind. I quickly decided VB wasn’t going to do what I wanted and switched to Flash. I did a super rough version and posted it to two usenet groups and it just took off like crazy from there.

    So yeah, basically HeroMachine started as just a project to teach myself how to program.

    Solander (17): So why IS the Japanese version scarier? I’ve not seen either one, honestly — horror movies haven’t ever really “done it” for me for some reason.

    Our three equines are all American Quarter Horses, the most common “everyday work animals” here in the US. In general they’re built for durability, temperament, and all-around utility, so they’re not as fast as Arabs (or as hot-blooded), nor as strong as drafts, or as sturdy as mountain ponies, but are a blend of all those traits more or less. We have one palomino (yellow with white mane), one dun grulla (blue when he’s not washed out by the sun), and one plain old bay. My wife’s the horse person, I’m just a glorified stable hand 🙂

    DiCicatriz (18): Thor birthday cake for the win! A partner who is tolerant of our geekiness is a great gift indeed. My wife threw a surprise super-hero costume party for me for my 30th birthday, even though she doesn’t really get into speculative fiction stuff at all. She dressed as Xena, which was so hot it caused me to say to everyone after the initial surprise, “Thank you all for coming, now get the f*** out.”

    And man, there is nothing to get a comics geek’s blood racing like one of those massive George Perez covers, that guy was unbelievable!

    Myro (20):That’s a great story! I have hidden my geeky side for a lot of my life, too. Like Violet said, it’s so bizarre that now, after feeling like that all the time growing up, it’s the most popular stuff. Life’s weird.

  21. DaRumblyTank says:

    I’m 16 and a fairly popular kid but i knew i had plenty of geek left in me when over Christmas break I spent way too much time playing with my collection of gi joes and star wars figurines.

  22. Brad says:

    The “always knowing you were different” story rings true for me as well. I was an outsider for most of my life, socially awkward, and didn’t know how to make friends well. There are times that I can relate, such as when a Warcraft book was stolen from me (pre-WoW) and how upset I was (yes stolen, as in he decieved me with “borrowing”), a very cute and personal one I’ll share: my then-girlfriend, now-fiancee having the same favorite ninja turtle (Donatello for the curious), but I think that my best, too, came from Hero Machine.
    Remember the big replacement prize voting? My submission was the hookswords, and I was already pretty ecstatic when they were announced, but when they went live, my joy was in hyperactive (And, probably, so was I.)
    It reached its peak when my friend Faith came to visit, who knows about HeroMachine and knew I really wanted to get my own custom item in it. She just happened to show up a few minutes after I checked the blog, and I was actually jumping up and down going “My hookswords are live! My hookswords are live!”
    She took a step back, gave me an expression somewhere between “What the hell?” and “Down, boy,” then just sweetly smiled and put her hand on my shoulder, and said “Don’t ever change, Brad.”
    It was a pure moment of geek awesome.
    Damn, and here I was trying not to get long-winded. I hope everyone enjoyed that.
    Now for my question to the Machinefather. What was the process of Hero Machine becoming your actual bread-and-butter career? Did you work before UGO bought you out? Do you now get your paycheck mailed bi-weekly like the rest of us? And most importantly, how well does it pay, specifically, how much is left over after your monthly expenses?

    Holy cow, I just had another geek moment: Firefox seemed like it was going to freeze up, and I grabbed my netbook and in a panicked tone whisper-screamed “Not now! Not now! Not now!”

    Oh, I also think it would be great if the next person would ask Jeff what he’d be doing if it weren’t for HeroMachine, because I’ve asked way too much. And said way too much. I’m clicking post now and thank you to the two people who actually bothered to read this far.

  23. Jeff Hebert says:

    DaRumblyTank (22): You’re never too old to play with action figures. Just ask my wife, who was confronted with her 41 year old husband gleefully trotting his Rocketeer guy (brought home from the antique store on what was supposed to be a furniture buying trip) around his desk.

    Brad (23): That’s great! Made me laugh out loud, and I’m so happy it made you happy. They’re great items, too!

    My relationship with UGO started with an email I got from one of the guys there very shortly after the app went live, just saying he thought it was a hoot. It came just when I got my first bandwidth bill from my hosting company and it was clear that this “free” app I was doing on my own time was going to end up costing me an arm and a leg just in hosting costs. Anyway, I chatted with this fellow (who turned out to be a great guy) for a couple of weeks and we hit on the idea of UGO hosting the app for free in exchange for them selling ads against it. It sounded good to me, as otherwise I’d have had to shut it down — that’s how much bandwidth it was consuming. Literally, had it not been for UGO right then the whole thing would have just died off.

    I think right around then was when I had finished 1.x and started on 2. Eventually 2.0 got to a state where I needed people to test it, and I decided to start pre-order (and beta testing) sales for it. Basically UGO hosted the beta files and would send people to a “Buy now” page I had up when they inquired. That went on for about a year, then I released the full version. After another year of that, my wife and I were talking about what my dream future would be. I said I would want HeroMachine to be purchased by a company that could commit to developing it fully, and for me to work on it for them full-time.

    My wife has a funny power to bend the universe to her will, so within just a few months I was in NYC talking to UGO about exactly that scenario. And now it’s all literally a dream come true — UGO is committed to developing it more, and I get paid to work on it all day.


  24. DaRumblyTank says:

    Jeff, what would you be doing if it weren’t for Heromachine?

  25. Jeff Hebert says:

    If UGO hadn’t bought HeroMachine, I’d probably still be working for the company that later got bought by Demand Media, doing general web design, troubleshooting, and whatever else my boss Byron could think of for me. They ended up making a crap-ton of money; Byron was a great guy to work for and it was interesting stuff they were doing. But it just wasn’t super-heroes, so at the end of the day I had to follow my passion.

  26. Violet says:

    @Jeff: Well, as far as “geeky sci-fi becomes acceptable” these days, I think animation buffs and lovers have become the new dorks of the moment. Especially when you get past a certain age, have no interest in pursuing it as a career, but can readily discuss animation studios of the early 20th century or gush over the fluid movement of one specific scene from fifty years ago.

    Like, Pixar movies or something such as “Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is acceptable, but I can’t watch “Phineas and Ferb”, “Road to El Dorado”, or (depending on who you’re talking to) even the comic-based animated fare without getting an eyeroll. Let’s not even get into the Don Bluth catalog of manly tears and heartwarming. “Talking mice? Screw talking mice, that’s stupid. Let’s watch a real movie.”

    (At least, that’s just my opinion. And now I wanna watch “The Iron Giant”. Or that Casper short with Fergie the fox.)

    Being a girl makes it easier to have a soft-spot regarding Disney, but people will look at you funny when you are playing Beauty and Beast while you do dishes…but it’s in French. And you do not know French. And there are no subtitles. “But,” you say, “I have it memorized.”

    My father stopped asking questions when things like this happened, because my answers confused him.

  27. Jeff Hebert says:

    Violet: I have to confess to loving animation too, although I’m not very knowledgeable about it the way a real animation geek would be. I just like it. I could watch Chuck Jones era Bugs Bunny cartoons all day long, those are pure genius in my opinion. And “Iron Giant” to me is an all-time great too, just a fantastic movie and an inspiring piece of animation.

    Any guy who would say talking mice are stupid is not a real man! Especially if they’ve ever been to Disneyworld. I mean, come on, a talking mouse is the symbol of one of the largest and most successful entertainment companies in the world!

    I don’t know the French words to the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, but I confess to have capered more than a time or two in my day while belting out “Les Poissons” at the top of my lungs.

    Your funny comment about your father brings to mind one of my favorite Calvin & Hobbes comics, here. For the link-averse among you, the transcript is:

    1. Hobbes: Look! A decoder ring!
    2. Calvin: Wow! We can send each other secret messages in code!
    3. Calvin (looking sinister): Ha ha! Now Mom and Dad won’t be able to understand us at all!
    4. Calvin (looking nonplussed): … Not that they do anyway.

  28. Violet says:

    @Jeff: Calvin and Hobbes! <3 Another thing that makes you geek, knowing inordinate amounts regarding newspaper comics. Thank the Lord for the Comics Curmudgeon.

    (Long geek post, sorry.)

    And I will not tell the untold story of my geek moment, BUT I will say that it involves a very long attached rant on the state of fanfiction *then* versus the state of it *now*. I was ecstatic to find other fans, other writers, who think about various fandom inter-workings and fictional universes as I do. Seriously, realistically, with an overhead view of the worlds and series as a whole…and a damn lot of humor to balance it all out.

    Especially in the realm of patchwork canon, niche shipping, and alternate universe development. These take good characterization, serious timeline study, and an intimate knowledge of the themes. It's an absolute treat to see it done right. Authors on like Kihin Ranno, KittandChips, niteryde, or Treenahasthaal. (Seriously, go check out the most subscribed to Star Wars C2s. Oodles of fun.)

    This did not exist way back when I was being introduced to the concept of fanfiction, this mentality that you are taking the characters as they are and asking them politely to consider your ideas, not shoving them into cookie cutter plots until they are bland cardboard representations of themselves. Smushing their faces together like a child pretending the dolls are kissing. Sunshine and rainbows and babies ever after.

    So now I can get into geekfights about things that matter. Very explicit things that nobody feels comfortable touching on. I almost gave an example, but…yeah, no. Anyway, THOSE are when I feel the most geeky. Knowing what a character's hair was for every episode, in every season, and debating your favorite. Discussing the fandoms in such a serious, academic way, that you are almost embarrassed when someone cuts in and asks, "Are you guys arguing about(current political issue) right now?"

    And all you can do it say, "No. We were discussing whether the political dissidents of Crystal Tokyo had a case for not being purified by Neo-Queen Serenity's Silver Crystal." Honesty is the best policy.

  29. Myro says:

    Violet (27): Singing in French because “you have it memorized” FTW! I’m the same way with J-Pop. I maybe only know a handful of words in Japanese, but damned if I don’t sing along to Megumi Hayashibara songs because I know the words, even if I don’t know what the words mean.
    Jeff (27): I wish I could get my fiancee to dress up for my birthday. Or to go to the comic book convention. I’m not particular, it could be Princess Leia, or Sailor Moon, or something.. I mean she accepts the geek in me, but she won’t share in it, it really isn’t her world. *sigh*
    I just thought of a question. We have a good idea of your daily routine up until dinner, but you obviously don’t spend every waking second taking care of the animals and hanging around here. I guess what I’m trying to get at is, what do you do for fun? What kind of hobbies do you have? I guess a lot of it will be pretty obvious, but I’m hoping there’s one pasttime you take part in that might surprise us.

  30. Jeff Hebert says:

    Myro, I am pretty darn boring when you get right down to it. I used to be a teaching assistant with ballroom dancing back in college, but I hardly ever do it nowadays. Mostly it’s tv, movies, books, crossword puzzles, taking care of the animals, and cooking.

    For the last 6 months or so it’s pretty much been moving — from Texas to Bayfield, CO, and from Bayfield thirty minutes down the road to here. That’s been super stressful. We’re planning on learning how to ski/snowboard but haven’t had a chance yet. I guess you could say exploring Colorado has been the main non-getting-the-house-done hobby for the last six months or so!

  31. Wierdrocks says:

    The first time I successfully raddled off every member of the Bat Family and thier civilian alliases in the order in which they joined the Fam. I was correcting some ignorant boob that claimed Stephenie Brown was the first female Robin in the entire Batman franchise. This is incorrect. Carrie Kelly was first.

    Jeff, can you do anything similar to this with your favorite comic book superhero?

  32. Bael says:

    I never had one particular “Aha” moment of geekdom. I’ve always been out there, but every now and then I’ll outdo myself. One time, DMing a game, I gave my players a handout. An intercepted letter. I’d put it into a homemade alternate alphabet I’d been playing with, just for color. I expected them to buy a read languages spell in the next town and be done with it. Instead, Tom spent three weeks of real time trying to crack what he thought was a letter substitution cipher. It didn’t work because I’d written it in Tolkien’s Elvish.
    These Days, I’m mostly down to toys. I’ve spent a really embarrassing amount on Cobra and Dreadnok action figures on Amazon.

  33. ajw says:

    One day I counted my number of star wars action figures: 153
    then i looked at my age 13, I was pretty sure I was a geek then

  34. Jeff Hebert says:

    Wierdrocks (32): Does Carrie Kelly count since “Dark Knight” wasn’t officially in continuity? I mean, it doesn’t matter to me, as far as I am concerned she was the first published female Robin so that’s the end of it, but you know how people are.

    I’ll be honest, my nerd-fu is not very strong. I dropped out of comics for a long stretch in the Nineties through 2004 or so, till John suckered me back in with “The Ultimates” I think it was. He kept going on and on about how awesome it was, and finally I couldn’t take it any more and picked up the first trade. And was instantly re-hooked.

    So I am not great with trivia or the history of characters. I get lost in all the various reboots and retcons and massive crossovers until I am utterly lost. As a result there are large gaps in my knowledge.

    I know a fair bit about the time period I grew up in, from the early Seventies through the mid- to late-Eighties. The biggie for me during that time was the Legion, with The Flash, Superman, and Green Lantern coming close behind. But I don’t have the kind of knowledge about any of those that you do about the Bat Family, for instance. I mean, it’s enough to impress people who don’t know a lot, but I’m a neophyte in any true geek gathering about comics.

    Bael (33): You gotta love it when one of your toss-away GM ideas ends up bedeviling a player all out of proportion. That’s good stuff. I remember being surprised at how much the players in the Champions campaign hated one of the recurring villains (Nereid) until I saw John’s jaws literally clenching when she showed up.

  35. Jadebrain says:

    I remember one time that may or may not be my “moment of nerdlightenment,” but if it isn’t, it’s pretty damn close.

    I was playing a DnD game at Crossroad Games, a local game shop/nerd magnet, when I realized that nature was calling. At that moment, I stood up, pushing my chair back rather quickly (and almost tipping it over), puffed my chest out, sucked my stomach in, put my fists on my hips, and said in a stereotypical heroic voice, “I have to go to the bathroom!”

    I just realized that, if you ever post a caption contest with the speaking character in such a pose, I WILL enter “I have to go to the bathroom” as an entry… assuming I remember.

    Now for the question: I was hand-drawing a character to enter for Open Critique Friday, not realizing that it wouldn’t be held this week, when I realized that I was putting more effort into drawing links of chainmail than anything else. Which is saying something, because only a small portion of the picture is chainmail. The method I was using involved drawing tiny circles to represent each individual link, and I got so frustrated at the length of time and lack of creativity in the process that I didn’t even take the time to make sure the links were arranged in any specific manner. My question: Do you have any tips for drawing chainmail in a way that is both realistic and easy to do? Thanks in advance.

  36. remy says:

    Here’s the story of my geek epiphany. It takes place way back when I was in 4th grade. I was new in the class (having skipped 3rd grade after about 5 weeks of it), and I had only one friend in the class at that point. The teacher was going to divide us into groups so we could do power points on various aspects of the human body (i.e. the 5 senses, the lungs, bones, and a few others). I’d been reading comics for a year or so, but I truly realized that I was a geek when I volunteered to do the 5 senses powerpoint, solely to incorporate Daredevil into it. Furthermore, when I realized that my friend was doing bones, I even lent him my Wolverine action figure and explained Wolvie’s indestructible bones to him. He never got into comics, but Wolverine is still his favorite super hero.

  37. Brad says:

    These are such awesome stories and questions. I love this blog!

    And extra-special thanks to Jeff and DaRubmlyTank for confirmed full reads

  38. I’ve always liked sci-fi, fantasy, and mythology. My earliest hobby was comparing and contrasting Greek and Norse mythology. Which I later expanded to other cultures and eras.

    My moment was real early. I did a 3rd grade project on the mythological etymology of the table of elements (Tantalum, Palladium, Thorium, etc.). My parents wouldn’t buy me a Thor doll to add to my presentation. So I used my dad’s tire mallett.

    @Jeff: If a train left Saint Louis at 9:30 travelling west to Phoenix and an eastbound train left Phoenix at 8:30…

  39. Chisoph says:

    Occording to the graph, I would be considered a “Dweeb.”

  40. Nick Hentschel says:

    When I participated in a self-hypnosis session, was asked to imagine myself in a place that was relaxing… and I imagined myself on the bridge of the Enterprise-D!

  41. Mr.MikeK says:

    I am geek! Hear me roar!

    I’ve always known I’m different from normal people. For me, there are no true “Eurgeeka!” moments just constant reminders of my true geekitude. After all, I sit in judgment over every science fiction/sci fi (there is a difference! Ask Harlan Ellison) movie and TV series that comes out. One of the more recent times that reminded me that I have not outgrown it despite hitting close to the center of the forties happened around a year ago.

    I was working on a site for an internet radio station I was helping to put together. On a “cool stuff” page, I inserted a Hero Machine design based upon the name of the station as an avatar describing the page. (Don’t worry, Jeff, I gave full credit to HM.) When some of the others on the station saw it, most of them laughed. One called me a “dork.” I replied, “Nope, I’m a geek!” and began to explain the character to them as they just smiled and nodded. When one of them saw the vast numbers of characters I’ve designed over the years, they shrugged and walked away shaking their head. My geek was affirmed.

  42. Jeff Hebert says:

    Jadebrain (36): Yeah man, drawing those noodly little details takes up way more time than anyone likes. I think the key to drawing chainmail is not necessarily to draw every single link, but rather to suggest the material through selectively drawing the links. For instance, take a look at how John Buscema rendered Cap’s chainmail. He only draws the links that would be on the falling-away, shaded side of the muscles. That suggests the material without drawing every single link, which tends to flatten out the surface.

    When I do have to do a large-ish section of links, I usually do scoop shapes, like a line of “c” letters all in a row, following the contour of whatever they’re draped on.

    Hope that helps!

  43. Whit says:

    All growing up, I was obsessed with trying to score straight 99s on the state school achievement tests, which I accomplished my junior year, the last year I had to take the test. I mean, this was a test which in many respects meant nothing, but I had to beat it. I did. 😀

    Yup, I’m definitely a geek, as I do okay socially.


    Where did you live when you were 7 ?

  44. Troy Prine says:

    Everyday of my life, Jeff… every damn day of my life…
    For instance, anytime I have to explain something from my notebook full of ideas, I know for a fact that they don’t understand a single word I say, even though I’m explaining it in pinpoint detail.

  45. Cliff says:

    Well I’ve had lots of them in my lifetime LOL. Most recently I was up at dialysis, and my (sexy) doctor was doing his rounds as I was pouring over my AD&D 2nd Ed books for an upcoming game, he asked if I was OK, I said I was looking forward to the weekend, he asked why and I said I was going to get to play AD&D. Well, he not only knew what AD&D was, he said he had played it as a kid (I had sence found out he is 33 .. I am 49 as of Jan 28 of this year) so we had a geek fest over D&D for a few moments then I had asked if he had seen the Saturday morning cartoon, he said, “with Venger and Uni …? yeah” he smiled admitting he had loved it. I had just recently bought the first 9 episodes for $5 at WalMart, and discovered the entire series online (still need to order that) and told Dr Ramirez about it, and he thought it was great and was smiling (an incredibly adorable smile) when he had to say bye and go to the next patient.

    (When I do get the entire season, I am going to give him my first 9 episodes for his birdthday)

    But yes, that moment of us geeking on AD&D and the cartoon was one of those moments I just looked at us and thought, what geeks, and totally embraced them moment.

  46. bron-bron says:

    so i’m 16 now and i guess i’m pretty comfotable with my geekish-ness idetity (actually acording to that venn diagram at the top i’m more dork)some of the people in my year level have started calling me ‘comic book girl’ proberly because of all the captain america comics i keep reading…

    Anyway, i had a really geeky momment a few months back. I was in the car with my mum on a long tirp, when she asked me if i was going to watch the xmen movie on tv tonight I then started ranting on about how the movies were a pale reflection of the comics and of how the plots should have progressed an anything else I could think of. when I finally paused for breath she then said “so that’s no?” and I replied
    “of course i’m going to watch it, it’s not like i have a social life.” *facepalm* 🙂

  47. Jeff Hebert says:

    Whit, I did something similar in fourth grade, I think it was — totally obsessed over an end of year test where we had to list all fifty states and their capitols, all spelled correctly. I worried over it so badly my teacher personally mailed me the result.

    At 7 I lived in Baker, Louisiana, a small city just outside Baton Rouge.

    Hey Cliff, good to see ya back!

  48. Jeff Hebert says:

    bron-bron, that is too funny! I know, whenever I hear a bunch of geek buddies complaining about whatever movie coming out, I can’t help but shake my head, because you KNOW they’re all seeing it no matter what.

    Although actually, I skip any super-hero movie that I think is going to be truly lame. I just love the comics too much to see them done that badly.

  49. Sefighter says:


    I had on my eurgeeka moment, after reading all of The Lord of the Rings trilogy books, and The Silmarillion, and had alive ongoing debate with some of my friends about the actual differences between the books and the films, with what characters were left out, and trying to trace most of the changes. As opposed to many other Tolkien fans, I love both the books and the movies, but of course the books are so much better!

  50. Sefighter says:

    I had another eurgeeka moment just the other night. I was sitting at dinner with some of my friends here in Waterloo, ON, and we were discussing identity thefts, and somehow me and 2 friends of mine cam to have a debate about Star Wars and how there were only 6 movies but actually 9 books (I didn’t know it before hand), and how successful the whole story was. And then when the rest of our friends hard what we were talking about, said something like “This is why you need to work on your social skills”, and I said “YES, I am a geek! and I love it!”

  51. X-stacy says:

    Last summer my brother and I went out to eat, and were talking about this and that (and “this and that”, for my brother, is usually comics, movies, rpgs, weird news, and politics) and a guy sitting at the next table stopped on his way out to say he’d enjoyed our conversation. Which caused me to reflect back on the day’s topics of conversation. And the only thing that stood out in my mind was a long rant against people saying Spider-Man could never be black. I mean, there’s nothing specifically “white” about Spidey’s origin, so why not give give Donald Glover a shot? And I also suggested that I’d like to see a trans-man or drag king Spidey, because why not? The repetition of Spider-Man’s origin is starting to bore the hell out of me, and switching it up just a little would help me give a damn that there’s another reboot….

  52. Nakiato says:

    I have had many moment where I realized I was pretty much a geek. lets go though a quick list

    cosplay: check
    toy light saber: check
    plush Stitch dressed as yoda: check
    Nerdgasm at the entrance of legoland in belund denmark: CHECK!!!

    my most recent nerdvana however was a few months ago. I was studying Joseph Campbells “hero of a thousand faces” and i became obsessed with Identifying every stage of the “heros journey” in the life of Snake Eyes (from GI Joe of course) I read though comic after comic of GI Joe issues featuring the snake eyes back story. In case you where wondering I was able to identify pretty much every step. Anyway it was during this that I came to fully understand something that I have always known. I am a G.I. Joe fanatic (incase no one realized this from some of my entrys in the henchmen contest.)In fact I once cosplayed as cobra commander at an anime convention (my short time as a cosplayer at anime conventions was a dark time in my life and one I don’t discuss often, cobra commander was not the first)The problem with being a G.I. Joe nerd is that few of us seem to exist. I have met many people who can appreciate my passion for star wars, and my once obsession for anime. I can even find a few AFOL’s out there (adult fans of lego) but G.I. Joe not so much.

    another great Eurgeeka moment for me is when I scored an A+ on a college paper I wrote about how Unicron form the transformers movie was an example of a character of folk lore symbolism. to this day (the paper was written like 8 years ago) I brag about the time I wrote a college paper about transformers.

  53. Captain Kicktar says:

    I’m a bit late, but Google Minecraft, it’s really hard to explain, but it’s really addicting.

  54. zaheelee says:

    I knew I was a geek the moment I became interested in comic books, but the real eureka moment was at a three week biking camp I went to last summer. I wanted to write a journal page each day so that I could look back on my experiences later in life, but after a while, I began to write down my opinions of other people as well. Well, naturally, I feared that someone would end up reading this journal and get mad at what I had said about them, so I began writing any comments about other people in Kryptonian characters. I realized that I can write the alien language just as fast and as well as I can write English:)

  55. Brad says:

    Zaheelee may have scored Epic Geek on the Geekometer.

  56. Joel says:

    it wasn’t quite a defined Eureka moment, but it hit me when i realized that my favorite things to do are play yugioh/magic, play dungeons and dragons, watch anime, and create my own (anime).

  57. D says:

    For me, I think there were probably two defining moments.
    The first was when I was in primary school, and I discovered that a girl in my class (!) was into Transformers and that I could talk to her about them without having to worry about sounding like a nerd. The second was when my older brother (who is not a comic book fan) would bring some home for me after school.


    Ha! They even have a Futurama font.

    So I was talking to my brother about my science project. He said “Yeah, I remember that. You did my paper on the Table of Elements for me.” I was confused.

    I thought that he was helping me with a really unique project. When, in fact, I did all the research for his 7th grade science class. He clammed when I asked him how many times he had tricked me into doing his homework.

  59. Myro says:

    You know, it takes a certain comfort with one’s geektitude to be out-geeked, and rather than condescend to the perception of the other geek’s social awkwardness (for example, a comment like, “There’s someone who is never getting laid.”) , to instead react with genuine admiration for their mastery of nerdcraft. Perhaps it may still be jealous admiration, but admiration nontheless.

    I’m not saying this to anyone in particular, although there are some great stories here. I’m just saying, because it does happen from time to time.

  60. Brad says:

    Oh, we could all get laid… we just need to find those people wearing “I Heart Nerds” shirts. 😀

  61. NGpm says:

    We were all standing around in the IT department having an debate as to which Jedi power would be the best to have in the real world.

    That alone would have been pretty geeky, but when I suggested that telekinesis would allow me to operate the TV and levitate sandwiches from the kitchen it was suggested that mind trick would be better. “… you could just look at your wife [with wave of hand] and say ‘bring me a sandwich’ and you wouldn’t need TK.

    Obviously, he wasn’t married and I clued him in. I said, “If I did that, my wife would inform me that my foolish Jedi mind tricks wouldn’t work on her, and then she would [with wave of hand] say, ‘get your own sandwich.'”

    The Geeknocity of the moment was overwhelming, and I reveled in it.

  62. Whit says:

    That Kryptonian symbol for S looks familiar… 😀

  63. the creator says:

    Like Violet i know how it feels to like ‘boy stuff’ as a girl. I remember prefering mt brothers G.I. Joe figurines than my dolls. And again at school, it seemed i was the only one who liked Star trek or annything Sci Fi. Thankfully, i had my brother who shared my passion(altough he’s more into stargate)
    thankfully the hiding is over and i can have long discussions with my lots of colleagues about annything sci fi (like the one about Dune friday)

    a recent geek moment was discussing Jean Luc Picard in the movie theatre while waiting for Tron to show.

  64. zaheelee says:

    Oh, and a fun fact for all of you people who commented on my awsome Kryptonian linguistics, if you look closely at the inner ring of Kryptonian letters inside the open space ship in Smallville, they say “made in Taiwan”:)

    also, the creator, I saw Tron as well and I think it is one of the best geeky movies I have seen in a while (NOT including the Star Wars marathon I had last weekend)

  65. Interesting that Jor-El’s advice to Kal-El was “You will be a god among men, etc.” It’s like Jor-El wanted the last son of Krypton to take become a tyrant. Good thing Clark Kent grew up with Smallville values.

  66. zaheelee says:

    Just out of curiosity, has anyone seen the Christopher Nolan Batman movies more than 50 times? I want to know if that is just my obsession or if other people actually do that as well.

  67. X-stacy says:

    I would, zaheelee, if time permitted, so it’s not just you.

    Though I confess the movie starring Christian Bale that I could watch anytime would be American Psycho.

    Oh, hey, if you’re still taking questions Hebert (and anybody else, since we’re getting to know each other): What’s your favorite movie of all time? Not the best movie of all time, but the one you really love? (Mine’s probably Clue. Or Tron. Possibly Bitch Slap. Maybe I should’ve asked for top five.)

  68. @X-Stacy: Repo Man is my favorite movie of all-time.

    I’d really have to think of a “Top 5”. Off the top of my head, I would probably put in The Crow, Star Wars: Episode IV (the original theater release), Blade Runner, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    Wow, sounds like I have a man-crush on Harrison Ford. Laura Prepon dressed as Han Solo… *drool*

  69. Niall Mor says:

    I was about 13 when the original Star Wars movie came out the first time (Do the math!) and like millions of people around the world I loved it. For a long time it was the only movie I paid to see more than once. My Mom gave me and my nephew toy lightsabers that Christmas, and we played with them until they fell apart.

    I think my rea; moment to embrace my geekoid tendencies came when I was in graduate school in the ’90s. My roommate and I would order a pizza on Saturday nights and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Until that moment if somebody had accused me of being a Trekkie or a Trekker I would have vigorously denied it, but then the thought dawned on me: “I’ve seen every episode of every Star Trek series. I’ve seen all the Trek movies. I’ve even read cheesy Star Trek paperback novels, for crying out loud.” At that moment, I embraced my geekdom. What did I do after this momentous revelation? I wrote my first Trek fanfic.

    Another geek gold moment came in 2003 or ’04 when a woman I had a massive crush on told me she was really enjoying The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon’s novel about the golden age of comics. I read it and suddenly GOT comics, especially superhero comics, in a way I never quite had before. When I discovered HM 2.5 back in ’08 and found a way to create my own superheroes, I was doomed :).

  70. So Jeff, what is you favorite art style?
    Traditional? Kirbian? Sprite work? Anermerimie? Anime? French? Dark? Pen? Stylized? American? French?
    I’d take it Animie and French are no go’s on you, but I’d still want to ask! 😛

  71. remy says:

    (forgot to ask a question on mine) Jeff, who is your favorite superhero, and why?

  72. zaheelee says:

    X-stacy(68), even though The Dark Knight is probably my favorite movie of all time (yay Heath Ledger, may he rest in peace), I would have to say that the movie that I could literally watch a thousand times and it would never get old is How to Train Your Dragon. I watched it last night and literally couldnt stop giggling out of pure joy.

  73. Jeff Hebert says:

    xStacy (68): Yeah, just one favorite movie is too hard, I’d have to do a Top Five and even then, probably break it into Top Five By Genre. But, some of my favorite movies would be “Amadeus”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (the first one), “Airplane” (again, the first one), “Star Trek II”, “Iron Giant”, “Little Mermaid”, “The Incredibles”, and … well, you can see why I’d need a limited list.

    A question back at you all: What major classic bit of “speculative fiction” (sci-fi, fantasy, etc.) have you never seen, read, or otherwise experienced, which some might take to call into serious question your geek cred? For instance, I have never seen an episode of Dr. Who, of any sort.

    I had a buddy who’d never seen a Star Wars movie, so I had to shoot him. Not literally, but in my mind he was dead to me.

    Niall (70): Oh man, we bonded seriously over TNG episodes in college! I remember when “Best of Both Worlds Part 2” was coming on to premier the season, I stupidly had forgotten to get someone else to cover my RA rounds, and I was throwing a party for the premier! I was so mad … I managed to duck in several times at least. Man that was a good show.

    Nicholas (71): In terms of comics, I am a traditional American guy — I love old school, representational sorts of guys like John Buscema, Gil Kane, the Kuberts, etc. I am not into Anime all that much, although I did pick up a few serialized graphic novels (one about a serial killer and the doctor who’s tracking him) that I thought were very good.

    Remy (72): Tough question … I know it’s boring, but I would probably go with Superman. I was a DC kid growing up — I had enough problems in real life without having to suffer through my idols’ problems, too. But I also loved Green Lantern, Batman, Flash, and the Legion. Those’d be my tops.

    Nowadays I love reading “Fables” and “Invincible”, those are great series.

  74. darkvatican says:

    I have worked amongst intelligentsia for several years now. In such a group, there is often a number of so-called nerds or geeks. It was about two years ago when the entire group of nerds/geeks came to me desiring clarification on the backstory of several Avengers and their Justice League counterparts. Not only did I have an answer for all their questions, but they automatically assumed that my answer(s) were completely accurate. As my co-workers walked away, I basked in my moment of pure, unadulterated geekiness.

  75. Myro says:

    Jeff (74): Haven’t watched a single episode of Stargate. Never even watched the movie that all the series were based on. Also, I’m a bit of a Babylon 5 noob, although I can at least admit I’ve seen a couple episodes of that one.

  76. ajw says:

    I know people have hit you up with questions jeff, but i saw a week or two back that you majored in english and art, could you tell me how to follow that path because I have a lot of passion for that stuff and I just want to be sure its a good path to follow.

  77. Brad says:

    I am actually no Trekkie whatsoever. And I’ve never owned a comic. But i am deep in the gaming geek. He is I, and I am he.

  78. remy says:

    I’ve seen the new Trek movie, but that’s it. And no Dr. Who or TRON for me either.

  79. spidercow2010 says:

    I have never read a Harry Potter novel nor seen a movie, and have no intention to do so.

  80. Steve M. says:

    At age 16, driver’s license in hand, getting my first car, Dad gives me the standard boilerplate “A car is not a toy, it’s a powerful machine…” that many of us got back in the day. Being a teenager, I of course listen for a brief moment, before interrupting him to tell him I understood.

    What I said, and my eurgeeka moment afterward? “Dad, I get it. With great power comes great responsibility.”

  81. Brad says:

    Just. Plain. Awesome.

    Well-said, Mr. M.

  82. zaheelee says:

    Like remy(79), I have never seen any of the classic Star Trek movies, nor have I seen Dr Who. I have, however, watched every single Star Wars movie at least five times, the Christopher Nolan Batman movies at least fifty, I have seen every episode of Star Wars The Clone Wars(the new one), Smallville, Pokemon (which, in my opinion is quite impressive, seeing as there are like 700 episodes), Young Justice, etc., etc.

    Oh, and I have never read a Marvel comic. There, I said it. All of you are probably staring at your computer screen and saying such terrible things about me, but I don’t really care. I started reading DC for the Teen Titans, and all of the characters have just grown on me so much, I don’t even want to have to worry about a group of people they will never meet.

    Anyways, this was a much longer comment than I expected, so I am going to stop myself right here before this gets even more out of hand.